oldbathroomsinkI'm not going to lie. When it came to purchasing my house, the neglected bathroom was nearly a deal breaker. The tiles were cracked, the tub was stained and the fixtures and appliances were what one contractor described as the equivalent of cheap beer. So a bathroom remodel was a high priority for me.

Before I called a contractor or sketched out a bathroom plan, I made a prioritized list of what I wanted to change in my bathroom. This served as my touchstone throughout the process. My goals for the remodel were to reduce energy and water consumption, maximize space, and increase beauty and comfort.

Finding a terrific contractor who was aligned with my vision, understood the kinds of materials I wanted to use, and was able to work within my budget and time frame was not easy. Just as I was about to give up on the ideal of moving into a house with a nice, new loo, I connected with the professional and efficient Ian Hurst.

oldtoiletIan understood my commitment to massive energy and water savings on a modest budget, and he was also committed to my definition of beauty. This part is important— your contractor often makes decisions on your behalf whether you plan for it or not, so this shared vision is integral.

Recognizing that most of the water we use within our homes is used in the bathroom, my first goal was to conserve water. According to authors Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert—who penned the nifty book Water, released by sustainable living publisher Chelsea Green — installing a water-efficient toilet, using a low-flow tap and showerhead can reduce your overall water consumption by about 25 percent, so I made sure my budget could accommodate these items.

Also according to Water, more than one-fourth of the clean, drinkable water we use in a home is used to flush a toilet. Contrast this with the fact that one in six people on the planet don't have access to enough clean drinking water, and you'll start to understand why we need to reconsider where our water goes.

Simran Sethi_1
12/30/2010 7:58:31 PM

Thanks to all for the suggestions and further insights.

12/26/2010 3:43:04 AM

I'm amazed you didn't direct the direct the waste water from your sink into the loo reservoir. Sometimes if that's simply not feasible there are loos with a wash-hand-basin on top of reservoir. Both are worth considering.

Melanie B
12/24/2010 3:52:42 PM

How about recycling the sink water to use in the toilet - it seems easy enough. The sink drain is higher than the toilet basin, and could flow to a holding area, then be re-used in the toilet.

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