The right flush
The Eco-Warrior Princess has got a bathroom remodel for you!
I just don’t understand you people. I recently went out of my way to shower you with kindness by redesigning your kitchen in an eco-friendly manner at no cost, and all I politely asked for in return was an invite to your house for a home-cooked vegetarian meal consisting of cheese tortellini and chocolate cake. But did I receive a single invite?
No. Nada. Which is fine, because you probably would’ve poisoned me.
Whatever. I’ve moved on. Now, once again, I will redesign a room in your house (or office) for free, despite your prior bout with rudeness. We decent folks call this “being the bigger person.” And maybe y’all should grab a pen and take notes.
Bring the bathroom to mama! That’s the room we’ll be working on today. I know about green remodeling because SN&R is renovating a building on Del Paso Boulevard and has tasked me with the job of researching the principles of sustainable design. Because there’s no better place to start this project than anywhere I darn well please, let’s begin with the spot where you do your deepest, darkest thinking: the toilet (you’re gross; I do mine, like a respectable person, in the shower).
If you’re going to sit there pondering the ways of the world, you might as well do so on a dual-flush toilet. Once your “thinking” is complete, flush one of the two buttons. Choose wisely: the small button is for liquid waste and the larger button is for solid waste. This water-conserving product has proven to be a reliable system for disposing of human unmentionables, while others, such as composting toilets and waterless urinals need perfecting and both require regular maintenance.
As a backup, consider a low-flow toilet. Conventional toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush, while low-flow toilets use 1.28 gallons or less, achieving at least a 20 percent reduction.
Saving water is probably my third favorite activity of all time, right behind eating Otter Pops and receiving praise. For your bathroom, we’ll install a tankless water heater (also called an on-demand hot water pump), which heats water only as needed, thereby saving water, energy and petroleum. I’ve also selected an energy-efficient showerhead that, if we’re lucky, will save water and drown out your housemate’s renditions of Billboard Top 40 songs. Cross your fingers!
Please answer the following questions, selecting the option that best describes your preference: Cotton pajamas or silk nightgowns? Italy or Spain? Strawberry yogurt or chocolate pudding? Based on my statistical-psychobabble-neurological-analysis of the left side of your brain, I’ve scientifically determined that graywater is right for you! A graywater system reuses wastewater from sinks and showers for toilets or landscape irrigation.
Write this down on an index card, laminate and repeat 3 trillion times: Salvage reusable materials whenever possible. For your bathroom sink, we’ll scavenge for a new or slightly used, reduced-price option at the Sacramento Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
Because you seem to like the fancy-pants type, we’ll opt for a solar-powered water faucet, which has its own photovoltaic cell—what you fancy-pants people like to call a “great conversation piece.”
Halogen lighting is often used in bathrooms, and while these bulbs are slightly more energy-efficient than incandescent bulbs, they’re still not as good as compact fluorescent light bulbs. So we’ll use CFLs or light-emitting diodes (only the very best for my sweetie pies!).
You’ll also want to bring in as much natural light as possible. Trust me. I know from personal experience that it’s no fun waking up in the morning, walking into the bathroom, staring at yourself in the mirror in unflattering light and realizing you’re going to scare innocent children as you mosey on down the street. This is simply not a good way to start the day. It’s actually quite depressing.
I’m now thoroughly depressed.
But you know what peps me right up? Eco-friendly flooring! Flooring is so confusing, you have no idea. I know, because SN&R struggled with what to do with the flooring in our new office building. We decided to leave the concrete and cover it with a nontoxic stain. But for your bathroom, I visualize water-resistant ceramic tiles with the spaces in between filled with low-toxic grout.
Pop open those cans of low- or no-VOC paint, put your friends to work and before you know it, voilà, you’re done.
Oh my darlings, I’m so pleased with how the bathroom turned out. And I’ve forgiven you for being rude earlier. You know I can’t stay mad at y’all for long. Now how about some cheese tortellini and chocolate cake? I’m still waiting.