Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Global Warming Wednesday: Bathroom audit

OK, so I'm starting my audit with the smallest rooms in the house. We have two bathrooms, one full, one three-quarter. They've been on my mind this week since we've already had our first plumbing emergency. Turns out that we had two-feet of roots blocking our pipes over 100 feet from the house. The plumber told us that his records show that he's been out about once every four years for this problem, so we've bought ourselves a little time on this--and we can keep up with maintenance now to make sure we don't have to deal with a back up or nasty chemicals anytime soon.

I have never been big on skylights, but the fact that both of our bathrooms have one has turned out to be a big plus. When Trillian and I first spent any time in the house, we would find ourselves trying to turn off lights that weren't on. So far, we have found that we just don't need to turn the lights on during the day. Talk about conserving electricity.

For those times that there is not enough sunlight, we are in the process of switching to CFLs. The switch is complete in the master bedroom, but I have yet to get the bulbs for Scooter's bathroom.

An even bigger issue than electricity in the bathroom is water. Again, the master bathroom is good to go: low-flow toilet and shower head, no drips or leaks. Scooter's bathroom still has a monster of an old toilet, so that needs to be replaced at some point. I am also unsure of the shower head that's in there (and am not going to check right now since the light going on might wake him up), so that may need updating too. I'm not aware of any leaks or constant drips there, though I've noticed that the tub faucet is slow to shut down--I'll have to make sure that doesn't turn into a drip.

Finally, although I won't do a full inventory here, I am trying to be mindful about the products that we bring into the bathroom. We are already a bit stingy with chemicals; while mixing my own cleaning products is not something I've started at this point, we tend to stick with milder products like Seventh Generation's cleansers.

All of this leaves me with a list that's not too bad.

To do in the next month:
  • Replace light bulbs in Scooter's bathroom. 6 over vanity--try to find round CFLs instead of spiral. 1 in fan.
  • Check shower head in Scooter's bathroom and replace with low flow model if above 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • Check the water heater to see where it's set. Consider lowering the temperature a little.

To do in the next year:
  • Replace toilet in Scooter's bathroom. This might slide over into the "Keep in mind for the future" category, depending on finances and the scope of other projects.

To keep in mind for the future:
  • Replace master bathroom shower head with an even lower flow model.
  • Consider solar-assisted water heating. This is something I'll be looking at more closely along with overall heating/cooling issues.
  • As we finish up products (personal and cleaning), replace with items that are environmentally friendly, both in terms of ingredients and packaging. Try to stick with minimal packaging or containers that can be recycled here. Whenever possible, try to obtain reusable items.

1 comment:

kgirl said...

i think everybody should do this, and way to go with getting right on the low hanging fruit, so to speak. right now our 'to do' list is bigger than our 'done' list, but that's ok.