A bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms of a home, but make no mistake – it’s a vital one. Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, integrating efficient components into a bathroom will add convenience and improve functionality, and also minimize the environmental impact of energy and water consumption.
When considering each individual component of a truly efficient bathroom, remember that how an item is produced is important as well as its design. And a product’s lifecycle is always a key consideration, since a long-lasting item saves the need for a new purchase and keeps the old out of the waste stream.
After scouring user reviews and comparing countless features and designs, we’ve compiled the following list of standout products. Here are some of the most innovative and promising components on the market for putting together a “meta-efficient dream bathroom”.
Caroma Caravelle Dual-Flush Toilet
Toilets can be real water-hogs, often consuming far more water than is really needed for waste disposal – in fact, older designs can send up to seven gallons of water down the drain with every flush. Low-flow toilets typically use just 1.6 gallons per flush, and their performance has improved dramatically since water-conserving designs were mandated in the 1990’s. Dual-flush toilets are an even more efficient solution, since flushing liquid waste actually requires very little water.
Why It Was Chosen:
The EPA “WaterSense” rated Caroma Caravelle is one of the best dual-flush designs available. Caroma has produced dual-flush toilets for years in its home country of Australia, where water restrictions are a part of everyday life. The Caravelle uses a mere 0.8 gallons per flush for liquids, or 1.6 gallons for solids, while still performing just as well as many older high-flow designs. The water saved is an double environmental advantage, since both freshwater consumption and wastewater treatment are reduced, and utility savings can add up to $100 per year for homeowners in water-restricted areas.
You can find the Caroma Caravelle Dual-Flush Toilet for around $352 at Amazon.
Delta Water Amplifying Low-Flow Showerhead
Showerheads are certainly a matter of personal preference. But regardless of the style you choose, make sure to look for a low-flow design (generally less than two gallons per minute). The newest designs can amplify low water pressure and provide a more powerful spray, while using far less water than older styles.
Why It Was Chosen:
Thanks to its aerating “H2O Kinetic Technology”, the Delta Water Amplifying Low-Flow Showerhead still provides solid water pressure in its 1.85 gallon-per-minute low-flow mode. It minimizes unnecessary water waste with normal use, but a control allows the user to switch to a high-flow rate if necessary. It features a self-cleaning design to avoid clogging, and its classic styling will match almost any bathroom style.
The Delta Water Amplifying Low-Flow Showerhead is available at Amazon for about $30.
Pedal Works Hands-Free Faucet Controller
There are countless faucet designs to match any bathroom, but regardless of the style you choose, adding a faucet foot pedal to control water flow will drastically cut water waste while adding convenience. Your sink will stay cleaner since you don’t need to touch the handles with dirty hands, and you’ll avoid wasting water during tasks like shaving or brushing your teeth.
Why It Was Chosen:
The Pedal Works Hands-Free Faucet Controller works in conjunction with your existing faucet. A user simply sets the handles for the water temperature needed, and controls the stream using the floor-level pedal. A toe latch provides continuous flow if desired, and allows normal hand control of the faucet too.
The Pedal Works Faucet Controller isn’t cheap, but over time it will save money by preventing water waste. Available for $349 at Amazon.
EnviroGLAS Recycled-Glass Terazzo Countertop
Solid surface countertops have become much more popular in recent years compared to laminate styles. If you decide on a solid countertop design, be sure to pick a material that minimizes the potential drawbacks of high maintenance, toxic composite resins, and high embodied-energy content from transportation or raw material usage.
Why It Was Chosen:
EnviroGLAS creates terrazzo-style countertops from 100% recycled glass and porcelain, bound with resins that produce no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The material is durable and low-maintenance too, requiring no waxes or harsh cleaners.
Prices vary depending on specific color and material choices. Learn more at the EnviroGLAS website.
Kohler Steward S Waterless Urinal
Fair enough, not all homeowners have the space (or desire) to integrate a urinal into a personal bathroom. But a waterless urinal can slash water consumption while adding convenience for male members of a household, elevating it beyond some sort of “man cave” novelty.
Why It Was Chosen:
The Kohler Steward S Waterless Urinal completely eliminates unnecessary water waste, making it even more efficient than a dual-flush toilet and earning “water efficiency” points toward a LEED rating. Its odor-minimizing, splash-resistant design reduces the need for maintenance, saving on time and the use of cleaners. And its modern but understated design maintains an aesthetic that’s still appropriate for home décor.
The Kohler Steward S Waterless Urinal retails for a hefty $532, but you can find it at Amazon for around $367.
C. Crane Geobulb 3 LED Lightbulb (Warm White)
Vanity lighting is admittedly an area where personal preference will dictate the types of lights you install. LED bulbs may not work for all applications in a bathroom setting, but they’re definitely worth considering for vanities and “open can” recessed lighting fixtures. The initial cost is a bit steep, but they use even less power than their compact fluorescent counterparts, plus they last far longer and contain no mercury.
Why It Was Chosen:
Some LED bulbs have struggled to match the brightness of incandescents or even fluorescents, but one of the best incandescent-replacement LED bulbs available is the Geobulb 3 from C. Crane. It uses just 7 watts of power to produce 520 lumens, matching the overall light output of a 50-60 watt incandescent bulb. And because of the directional nature of LEDs, the Geobulb 3 produces more light from the top of the bulb, so it’s especially well suited for use in open mounted fixtures as opposed to shaded lamps. The Geobulb 3 is rated for a 50,000-hour lifespan, and it’s also available in “Soft White” and “Cool White” styles.
The C. Crane Geobulb 3 LED Lightbulb is available at Amazon for $69.95.
Have you included any of these items in your own bathroom design? Or have you tried others that you are especially pleased with? Leave a comment and let us know!
8 thoughts on “A Metaefficient Bathroom – Environmentally Friendly And Functional”
You have some excellent ideas for bathrooms. That has been one of the recurring themes in my own life–looking for a way to make our bathrooms and our kitchen look really glorious, even though those rooms are much too small. One of the glories of the Internet, though, is that there is absolutely no dearth of ideas. Right now I have no idea of what I will ultimately do, but I keep hoping I will come up with something really slick.
530 lumens is NOT the equivalent of 60 watt standard light bulb – the box of 60’s I have right now is 850 lumens, and I’ve never seen them lower than 700.
This is a HUGE difference. For those of us who need higher levels of light in order to see properly, this expensive bulb simply won’t do the job.
More people would adopt these solutions if they weren’t being oversold as “equivalent” when they are actually putting out far fewer lumens. This just gives LEDs a bad name. Wish I could find LED bulbs with 750-850 lumens. I haven’t yet, but I’ll buy them when they put them on the shelves.
LEDs output a direct light so a LED bulb can emit fewer lumens but have a greater apparent brightness.
Watch the waterless urinals. The concentrated salts left behind degrade the plumbing drain lines. More manufacturers are going towards a .28l flush mode which allows the salts to be flushed away, while reducing the volume. Also, the cartridges/fluids need replacement and can become smelly.
i’m not interested with the fuction of bath….but the photo is really good
Glad to see you having chosen a non-water using urinal. These are great. I actually looked them up on the web and found quite a few companies offering this type of product. Must be a big market out there! However, can someone explain why the Kohler urinal does not have a cartridge insert? Seems without it, that the urine deposits will clog up the system?
The Kohler waterless urinal uses a sealing liquid that floats in the drain trapway, so gravity simply pulls waste down the drain. To maintain the system, users just flush the trapway with water periodically and top off the sealing liquid – no used cartridges to remove or dispose of.
These choices aren’t the best, they are the premium options for those with no money concerns.
For the dual-flush toilet, you can get a Sterling Rockton or Karsten model for under $300 total, and they’re great (I have one, I know), or Lowe’s sells 1.28 gallon single-flush models for closer to $150 even, with a range of options (we also have one of those, and we chose the lowest heights btw—see Metaefficient’s discussion of squat toilets etc., lower height is better).
For the shower head, amconservationgroup has much cheaper ones that are good and down to 1.5gpm. But for $30, the best bet is probably a hand-held shower because you can get the water right where you need it and easily pause the flow, thus being ultra-efficient.
Instead of $349 for a sink pedal, you can spend under $10 for an aerator attachment with a little shut-off lever. Those are easily to flick on and off and are just about as good as a pedal. I got ours from amconservationgroup but they are available all over.
I have no particular comments on the rest of the items.