How to Do a Truly Green Bathroom Remodeling
Going green is something that has caught the imagination of the socially conscious population, and that is a good thing. The drive to keeping to a small carbon footprint and protecting the environment have permeated into everything, including bathroom remodeling, and product manufacturers are happy to oblige.
However, the hype around the buzzword “green” has triggered a flood of products that may not necessarily mean environmentally friendly. Companies in the remodeling industry are jumping on the green bandwagon to cash in on the movement by touting their “sustainable” and “green” products and services, when they are not really all they claim to be. Products claim everything from energy efficiency to low toxic content with little or no foundation.
In many cases, these companies are not actually lying about their products. They exaggerate, misstate, or mislead with their claims in a growing practice called “greenwashing.” They use trigger words such as eco-friendly or sustainable to make their products more attractive to consumers, but fail to disclose everything about it.
For instance, a product may contain recycled materials, which makes it environmentally friendly, but the company fails to mention the high amount of energy required in manufacturing it. They are walking a fine line here, but greenwashing companies have it down to a fine art.
In other cases, the claims have no basis whatsoever. The companies simply use the terms that are music to the ears of eco-conscious consumers, and leave it at that.
If you truly want a green bathroom remodel, you need to put in a little more work into finding out more about the products you choose. You want to avoid greenwashed products, and for that, you need to know how to spot them. Here are some tips to help you with that.
Look for certification
The best way to identify genuinely green products is to look for certification. A seal of approval or certification from WaterSense, Cradle to Cradle, or Energy Star goes a long way towards reassuring consumers about green claims by manufacturers about their products. These and other reputable certifying organizations carry out meticulous investigations and analyses before giving out these sigils of approval.
You will often see these symbols or logos in the label, so make that your first stop of inquiry. It is not enough to see them on the company website, as this does not necessarily mean all the products they produce have passed muster. If you do see them on a label, it is a good sign of a true claim. If you are not sure if a seal or logo is from a reputable certifying organization, look it up.
That said, you should know that not all genuinely green products would have certification. The process of certification is often a long, arduous, and expensive one, and some companies are too young or too small to have them at the time of your purchase. In those cases, you have to look a little deeper into the claims.
If a green label is not in the offing, you can easily do a bit of research online to find out more about the company and the product. Go to the company website and pay special attention to any specific mention of the manufacturing process for a particular product. You might also look into reviews and comments about the products to find out what other consumers know about it.
You can also get the contact information of the company and make direct inquiries about green claims. For example, if the company claims the product is from recycled materials, you should ask them for specifics regarding nature and composition of the recycled material. If the product contains 10% recycled material, it is still a good thing, but perhaps it is not what you expect. In another example, if a product is supposed to be energy efficient, ask them to qualify in what sense.
Once you have all the information you can glean online, you can either come to a conclusion about the genuineness of the claim, or investigate further.
Look for trade offs
Sometimes, companies use half-truths and technicalities to get their way. For instance, they may claim to the high heavens that their product is eco-friendly in one way, but murmurs about how it is not so eco-friendly in another way. It is a bit like a magic trick, where they misdirect you with one hand while doing something else with the other. They are not technically lying, but they are not upfront about it, either.
For instance, the company trumpets about using recycled wood for a product by saying so repeatedly in large letters on the packaging, in commercials, and so on. In the meantime, they slip in information about certain toxic resins or adhesives they use in the product in much smaller letters in the inset they include with the product. Technically, they have disclosed everything, but bank on the fact that most people do not bother to read everything.
You have to look at everything that goes into the product, including shipping and packaging, to determine if they are truly green, or there is some trade off somewhere. All these factors have an overall effect on the environment, so you must be vigilant.
Know about regulations
The drive to becoming friendlier to the environment has been going on for a long time, and many regulations are in place to ensure that manufacturers are doing their part. This means that they have to follow these regulations or face severe fines and sanctions. Claiming that they are following these regulations do not make them unique, yet some companies manage to make it seem as if they are voluntarily doing their part in the green movement.
For example, the government banned the use of lead, asbestos, and CFC in any consumer product a long time ago. A product that is “lead-free” is not something to admire about it. It’s the law. Do not be hypnotized by this type of sleight of hand. Know the regulations they must follow so you can distinguish between a compliant company and a truly green one.
If you are considering doing your part as a consumer and doing truly green bathroom remodeling, remember these tips for avoiding greenwashed products. If you are not sure you can do it as thoroughly as you would like, you can take a shortcut by consulting with a reliable contractor. They will tell you everything they know about the products they offer, and you can take it from there.
Fairfax Kitchen Bath is contractor you can rely on to carry out your green bathroom remodel in the DC, MD and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. We are a Class A, licensed and insured contractor, registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
When you contract with us, you can be sure you will get a quick turnaround on your products, and receive it much faster than ordering what you need from big box stores. We specialize in remodeling bathrooms to specifications, and executing them within budget and on time.
We have the expertise to carry out any type of remodeling you need, including a truly green one. We carry the products you need for your bathroom remodeling, from natural and engineered stone slabs, cabinets, shelves, sinks, faucets tiles, backsplashes, knobs and pulls, and hardwood flooring. We carry only the top brands for these products, such as Schrock Cabinetry, Silestone, Blanco, Kohler, and Mosaic Décor.
You can see the products before you buy so you can decide for yourself if the quality is what you expect. We have a showroom in Fairfax, Virginia that houses all our products, including actual granite, marble and engineered stone slabs from which you can choose.
Our products come with manufacturer warranties that ensure your satisfaction with the quality and installation.
Contact us today to get a free quote for your green bathroom remodeling.
I am a remodeling expert that loves to build beautiful homes. I write about our beautiful place in Fairfax and the homes that I have help over the years.