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Tips for Designing an Eco Friendly Bathroom

by Jennie Nunn

A sustainable tile company transforms an ordinary space into a resort-inspired, eco friendly bathroom, with tips on how to get the look.

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Fireclay Tiles in Tusk, Mint and Rainy Day, pattern in Ogee Drop Moroccan

“I’ve always been a huge advocate of splurging on a powder room,” says Jamie Chappell, creative director at Northern California-based Fireclay Tile. “Patterned tile achieves a look similar to beautiful wallpaper, but offers added texture and durability. Because powder rooms are small, adding these bold details won’t break the bank.”
For a recent eco friendly bathroom project, the company—founded in 1986 by chief ceramicist Paul Burns—used hand-painted tiles from the new Sakura collection, which includes 12 patterns in green and beige tones inspired by Japanese landscapes from river rocks to blooms reminiscent of cherry blossoms.
“We wanted to create a softer, more organic look that would lend itself to a variety of interior styles,” she adds. To create an eco-friendly bathroom design, Chappell gives her top four tips.

The Eco Bathroom Checklist From Fireclay Tile

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Use Recycled Tile
Bathrooms are like the Taj Mahal of tile projects. You can literally tile every surface and no one would bat an eyelash. Installing tile made with recycled material, like Fireclay Tile, can go a long way toward creating an eco-friendly bathroom. But, don’t forget to consider where tile is made.
Tile is heavy, so it can have a large carbon footprint even if it is composed of recycled materials. For example, 100 percent recycled tile made in China is less earth-friendly than 50 percent recycled tile made in the U.S.
Consider Water-Saving Fixtures
This is a big one. A faucet aerator can cost as little as $5 and reduce a typical 2.2 gallon per minute faucet flow rate to a .5 gallon per minute flow rate.
Try: If you can afford to replace fixtures, Toto has some of the most advanced water-saving toilet fixtures on the market (and they actually flush). Look for showerheads and faucets with a WaterSense label, as well brands with water-saving products including Moen, Grohe and Kohler.
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Choose Organic Towels
Everyone loves a soft, fluffy bath towel. Before you reach for any old cotton towel look into the source. The cotton industry is ripe with pesticide use and unsavory working conditions. Choosing organic, unbleached or natural-dyed organic linens is a simple way to make a bathroom more eco.
Try: Affina towels are made from 100 percent organic cotton and certified free of harmful substances by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, an independent international textile certification system. The company also uses low-impact fiber-reactive dyes.
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Incorporate Salvaged Accessories
Reclaimed and salvaged materials can be found for just about anything these days. Before heading to the hardware store to pick up bathroom accessories, try the local salvage yard. You might just find unique light fixtures, mirrors, towel bars or even bathroom vanities.

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