Updating Guest Bathroom With Energy Efficient Options

Undergoing a renovation in search of energy efficiency would chill some people to the bone. Not us, we were ready to plan and enact some changes on an outdated bathroom. Follow along and let us hear some of your tips and renovation stories in the comments. 

Wether the implications are that of energy saving for the wealth of the planet, or like me, you're simply concerned with efficiency, then this bathroom remodel is for one to keep bookmarked for later. Over the course of my fiancée and I's transition from graduate students to finding a home of our own (and full-time jobs I might add) we lived with her parents. As a simple gesture of gratitude, we offered to redo the guest bathroom. The caveat being that the old bathroom was in dire need of energy efficiency upgrades, while the rest of the old house had been updated. 

This project would require far more than a simple aesthetic remodel. 

Keep in mind, that my primary interest is efficiency. Being the kind of person to save vegetable scraps for broth, or the last bit of coffee in the pot for the next day, this is the kind of project I'm keen to tackle. Although I can attest to the level of planning that went into making this project energy efficient, before we knew it, demo day had arrived. 

First, we needed to make sure that the materials we were going to be using would match the efficiency expectation of the project. Glass and ceramic tiles are a great choice for bathroom surfaces. You can reuse tiles from your existing bathroom or other projects, and it’s easy to find new tiles with high recycled materials. In addition, they are durable and easy to repair and clean. Wherever you use tile, choose tiles you can place a quarter-inch or less apart and can install using grout, which is more difficult for mold to take hold on. Efficiency doesn't just define energy use, it also applies to the health of those living there. In my time living in Oregon, mold became an increasing concern. Using a latex-modified grout and a water-based grout sealer will increase the grout’s life and make it easier to clean if you face the woes of mold and mildew in your area. Included here, are a few examples of the difference a new tile and grout cleaning can make. Not only is this more energy efficient in the long run, keeping in heat and increasing the life span of your now-protected drywall, but it certainly looks much better. 

Showers on the other hand are rife with acrylics and laminates that are certainly considered a common pollutant. For our means, we visited the local recycled building materials store and found a reclaimed shower stall, additionally we refit with a low-flow shower-head. You can save hundreds of gallons of water a year by making this switch. 

Reclaimed building supplies are your friend! 

For the bathroom floor we went with recycled tile, but cement or stone can be a great and effective alternative as well. 

A bathroom remodel can require a fair bit of caulk to seal around showers, sinks, and the like, however in terms of being energy efficient there some hesitancy to add it to the mix. For our means we searched for a low toxicity blend of VOC Caulk that can last longer than the usual tens years. 

Painting was an easy task, as not much isn't a step up from the past lead-based paints that troubled the bathroom here. My task was to step aside and let the homeowners pick the colors, and I followed suite not long after with the brushes and paint rollers. 

As the project winded down, we made sure to install a low flow toilet. Although this seemed a little outside the wheelhouse of this project, if you'd want to take the efficiency to a new level, consider adding stone pebbles to the tank itself to offset the water level. Seal the pebbles and add water to the tank one liter at a time, flushing occasionally to make sure that the water level is maintained by your stones, indicating that there is no leak present. 

With the project finished we were able to reflect on the accomplishment. Taking little under a month to plan, demo, and refurbish, this part time project is of novice level difficulty. The energy updates are sure to save a little cash over time and is much more aesthetically pleasing. 

All and all we spent very little, the only real splurge we had was on the vanity (which you can see pictured above). This left the bathroom less monotonous feeling, with dull colors remaining intact and clean, and the wood vanity keeping it's own space. 

Views: 68

Tags: Cost, Effective, Energy, Fixtures, Grout, Home, Saving, Tile, remodeling


You need to be a member of Home Energy Pros Forum to add comments!

Join Home Energy Pros Forum

Comment by Phil Luther on February 28, 2018 at 9:27am

I'm definitely a fan of using recycled elements as much as possible.  Thanks for the article here.  Let me just add to it one that also gives examples of how to conserve the use of hot water as well here too.

Latest Activity

Profile IconJohn Walter and Eric Rabesa joined Home Energy Pros Forum
1 hour ago
William Collins posted a video

The Foam Sealants Kit " Bead or Spray"

Now you can apply foam sealant as a " bead " or a " spray " with the Foam Sealants Kit. When using a 16lb Canister of Black Sealant you can easily go from us...
6 hours ago
Profile IconSean Wiens and Armando Cobo joined Don Fugler's group

Kitchen Ventilation

In many homes, cooking is the largest indoor source of air pollutants. Exposures can be higher in…See More
7 hours ago
Julie Saporito posted a blog post
8 hours ago
Brennan Less replied to Linda Wigington's discussion Good Eating with Reduced Cooking Emissions in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Cook outside, as much as you can, and close your doors/windows while you do it ;) "
9 hours ago
Ethan Foley joined Bob Krell's group

Healthy Indoors (IAQ)

The Healthy Indoors group is focused on indoor air quality (IAQ), mold, moisture control, radon,…See More
9 hours ago
Shane S posted a photo
18 hours ago
Al Tibbs posted photos
Al Tibbs commented on Eric Aune's photo


"Always remind customer to make sure to mark out location of piping before covering!! The infrared…"
Al Tibbs commented on Eric Aune's photo
Joe is now a member of Home Energy Pros Forum
Liam Smith replied to Silas Inman's discussion Best Energy Myths
"Yes incandescent bulb are very heat productive. Instead of that use LED bulb which are energy…"
Kelly Vaughn's blog post was featured

How Cities Can Ensure Better Rentals for Everyone

By Alisa PetersenWhile much of RMI’s research and analysis on home energy performance has focused…See More
Brett Little's event was featured

Resilient Design in an Age of Climate Change - Free CE Webinar at Webinar Online

May 30, 2018 from 12pm to 1:15pm
A changing climate, sea level rise, drought, and a wide range of stresses in the world are…See More
Cody Farmer liked Jim Gunshinan's blog post Highlights from the 2018 HPC National Home Performance Conference in Philadelphia
Rick Barker is now a member of Home Energy Pros Forum
David Keefe's video was featured

A Climate Report From The Field - Keefe

"A Climate Report from the Field" by David Keefe. Part of a TED-inspired evening session at the HPC Home Performance Conference, Philadelphia PA, April 25, 2018
Bob Krell's video was featured

Carbon Monoxide Webinar with Bill Spohn - Healthy Indoors Show- Special Live Edition 4-16-18

Guest Bill Spohn, of Tru Tech Tools, joins host Bob Krell, to discuss Carbon Monoxide (CO) in the indoor environment. This show is a recording of a live webinar event on April 16, 2018.
David Keefe posted a video

A Climate Report From The Field - Keefe

"A Climate Report from the Field" by David Keefe. Part of a TED-inspired evening session at the HPC Home Performance Conference, Philadelphia PA, April 25, 2018
John White posted a blog post

What to Expect from a New HVAC Unit Installation Cost

The cost of installing an HVAC unit, such as an air conditioner installation in Laguna Hills, will…See More


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service