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Bathrooms are one of those rooms in the home that we usually decorate with a specific look or architectural style in mind. The good news is that, for the most part, "green bathrooms" can still be designed and decorated with your specific personal touch. Just as with kitchens, we recommend using only hardwood cabinets and, if you are using exotic tropical woods, make sure they are FSC certified. For countertops, we recommend a recycled products such as Icestone or cement.

Faucets, Showerheads, and Toilets

The most important green decision you can make in your bathroom(s) is to install or replace your showerheads, toilets, and faucets with low flow technology. Bathroom showers and toilets account for almost half of all water usage in the average home. By switching to low flow devises you can easily save thousands of gallons of water per year and significantly reduce your water heating requirements as well. The easiest way to determine if a faucet or showerhead is low flow is to look for the WaterSense label. The WaterSense label assures that the device will perform as well or better than its' less efficient counterparts and achieve at least 20% percent more water efficiency than average products in its' category. For showerheads, this equates to a 2 gallon per minute flow rate. For even lower flow rates, look for products that have California certification. Most of these will have a "CA" as part of their product code. Those showerheads and faucets can achieve flow rates as low as 1.3 gallons per minute without losing much "coverage".

For toilets, you may also want to consider dual flush technology. Dual flush toilets work by treating solid and liquid waster differently. They are the most efficient toilets you can purchase and the technology has rapidly improved over the past few years.

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Exhaust Fans

Installing a properly sized and vented exhaust fan is critical to any new construction and renovation project. Never vent the exhaust fan into you attic. This can cause serious damage, as well as serious mold issues in your attic. Every exhaust fan should be properly vented to the outside of your home.

Your exhaust fan must also be properly sized for your bathroom. As a general rule, your fan should be able to exchange eight times the air volume of the bathroom per hour. Click here for information regarding three ways to properly calculate the size of your bathroom exhaust fan.

Finally, we strongly recommend that your bathroom exhaust fan be controlled by an electrical switch with an embedded timer. The timer should be set to run for 30 minutes AFTER you turn the switch off. This will allow the fan to completely vent the moisture that is generates by shower activity. A good timer switch will have the capacity to "double switch" to override the 30 minute additional run time.

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