A home renovation could involve replacing old fixtures, opening walls, and updating your home’s furnace and water heating systems – giving you options for making those parts of your home more efficient or environmentally friendly.While there are many strategies to “greening” renovations, they generally involve elements such as:
- Creating a healthier indoor environment by adopting technologies and practices that provide better air quality, water, lighting and greater comfort;
- Reducing energy use through energy efficiency and renewable energy systems;
- Making efficient use of resources throughout the whole production process;
- Reducing the environmental impact of your home;
- Enhancing affordability, through reduced costs from energy savings and from advance planning that can help reduce the cost of future adaptations and renovations.
Bathroom renovations are one of the most popular home improvement projects in Canada. Creating your dream bathroom can add greatly to both the value of your house, as well as your family’s enjoyment of your home. But bathroom renovations also offer a number of opportunities to include several features that can dramatically improve the energy and water efficiency of your house, while making your home healthier and more comfortable.
If you’re thinking about renovating your bathroom, there are many options on how to make sure your renovation is as efficient, green and affordable as possible.
Install low-flow faucets, showerheads and fixtures, as well as ultra-low flush toilets that consume 6 litres of water or less per flush. Bathrooms account for about 75 per cent of the water used in the average Canadian home. Water-efficient fixtures can significantly reduce the amount of water your family sends down the drain on a daily basis.
To conserve resources and minimize your environmental footprint, select certified forest flooring and cabinetry, recycled countertops and tiles, and locally-sourced products and materials. Plus, choose materials, products and finishes that are low-emission, low-polluting, easy to clean and maintain, and which will remain in good condition for years to come.
Plan for future renovations by making sure your bathroom will be able to adapt to changes in your needs as you or your family members get older. For example, make sure the controls and fixtures are within easy reach, install grab bars beside the toilet and bathtub, use a non-slip surface in the bathtub or shower, and install a shower head on a vertical slide bar so it can be set at a variety of different heights.
Not sure what materials are eco-friendly? Speak to a bathroom renovator! They’ll retrofit your bathroom with the right materials that will look aesthetically pleasing, while helping out the environment.
Cash in on energy savings
To cut down on your monthly utility bills, choose low-energy lighting and exhaust fans, install more energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® windows, insulate the hot and cold water pipes, and improve the insulation in the walls and ceiling wherever feasible.
Prevent the growth of mould by using moisture-resistant materials and finishes, such as ceramic tile, natural stone or laminates. Also, make sure your bathroom has adequate ventilation to ensure that condensation, moisture and odours will be vented directly to the outside.
If you will be replacing any cabinets, fixtures or materials, plan in advance for how you can reuse, recycle or safely dispose of the old fixtures.
To keep costs to a minimum, avoid potentially expensive rework by identifying and addressing any concerns that might arise before you begin construction. Use quality, durable and long-lasting materials. And select a timeless, efficient design that will extend both the life of your bathroom and the time until your next renovation.
For more information about CMHC’s online Renovator’s Green Guide or for the answers to any other questions about buying, owning or renovating a home, visit our website at www.cmhc.ca or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642. For over 65 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada’s national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information.
Save money and help the environment by incorporating environmentally friendly fixtures and materials into your bathroom renovation. Speak to a bathroom renovator today! Our directory features dozens of contractors with picture galleries, video galleries, and more to inspire your renovation. Good luck!
About the Author: Christina Haddad is the vice president of Ontario’s Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation division.