Step 5 - Energy - Five Steps for Designing a Sustainable Luxury Bathroom!
Part five of our bite-sized articles on bathrooms in sustainable interior design. This week, it's energy.
40% OF UK EMISSIONS COME FROM HOUSEHOLDS.
This means our stylish sustainable homes have an important part to play in meeting the 2030 emissions reductions in the carbon budget. There are some great infographics here you might be interested in.
You may have heard Heat Pumps a lot recently, which are a super sustainable product, these will eventually replace traditional boilers as they are super energy efficient, but that's another conversation!
Let's remind ourselves what sustainability means when applied to interior design:
We are creating sustainable and luxury homes with an emphasis on the health and wellness of families, individuals, and our planet, by using design principles, products, and materials that help reduce the use of chemicals, pollution, waste, and energy consumption.
⭐️ First download this FREE GUIDE - 10 mistakes to avoid when designing your bathroom - a must-have to read along with! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD NOW! ⭐️
So, let's take a look at what we can do to reduce that carbon footprint, save ourselves some money, and keep our homes healthy by using healthy and sustainable products in our homes.
1. UNDERFLOOR HEATING
HOW WE HEAT A BATHROOM.
Normally it's heated by towel rails that are either run on electricity or via the hot water system. These are alternatives that are more sustainable because they are energy-efficient.
You might like to consider underfloor heating? We are currently working on a project and installing electric underfloor heating in all of the bathrooms and some of the reception rooms also. We have previously installed a whole home with a water-fed system too, with no radiators anywhere.
THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF UNDERFLOOR HEATING - ELECTRIC AND WATER
We would recommend an electric underfloor system for a sustainable and luxurious interior-designed bathroom renovation as the void in the sub-floor space required for it is minimal. If it's a larger bathroom then we would supplement the underfloor heating with a radiator. Your plumber can advise you on the best options.
The water-fed system is normally thicker due to pipework and works using the existing heating system for the house. It's better if installed into a new build or where the heating system is being updated, where they can make provisions to accommodate the depth required to install this application at the design and planning stage. Both systems can easily heat a 12mm thick porcelain tile well, creating a warm touch to the floor which feels wonderful on bare feet and is super cosy.
The alternative is a water-fed system requiring a deeper floor void for laying the pipework either in the screed or a tray system.
HOW UNDERFLOOR HEATING WORKS.
Even though underfloor heating will cost about 30% more to install over radiators, your longer-term energy costs over the year could be halved. This is also a more natural form of heating and requires lower flow temperatures due to its increased surface area.
The air that is circulated from underfloor heating is cleaner than the air pushed around by radiators. Along with warm air, radiators push around moisture. Having moisture in the air can result in damp and mould forming, reducing the air quality of your home environment.
The even distribution of heat also allows a room to heat up more quickly and stay warm. While radiators have to work hard and burn through more energy to increase the temperature in a room, the large surface area that underfloor heating covers make the task easier and quicker. Once a room is up to temperature, less energy needs to be used to maintain that temperature.
Some homeowners are concerned about the systems going wrong, but, it's the same with any specialist trade; make sure the contractors you are using are qualified and you won't have any problems.
Towels give off heat and dry your wet towels - obviously! They can be heated by electricity or a water supply. They do not provide an even distribution of heat around the room. A water-fed towel rail will most likely be plumbed to work with your heating with a thermostat attached. An electric towel rail will normally be operated by a timer outside the bathroom. One can of course use a combination of towel rail and underfloor heating switched together or operated separately.
Don't you hate it when you can hear the noise, above, below, or from above where you are in your home? It's a pet peeve of mine and there are ways to improve this. As well as helping with unwanted noise, we can improve heat conservation in our properties saving us money and helping the environment.
There are a couple of ways to do this, one is by cladding the internal face of an external wall, the other is to install insulation into the cavity of a stud wall, not as efficient, but better than nothing! Ask your builder for advice, in my mind, it's worth it.
2. LIGHTING AND LIGHTING SYSTEMS.
Any lights, TV's or electric towel rails, used in a bathroom must be IP rated to at least IP44 - IP65. Ideally, a waterproof fitting should meet IP65, 66 or 67 regs. IP means 'Ingress Protect' and measures the sealing level of electrical fittings against moisture and dust.
BRITISH LIGHTING COMPANIES I LIKE.
🇬🇧 I love these wall lights by Bert Frank, they have a high IP65 rating, so are waterproof. Designed and made in the UK by artisans, are therefore a higher price point than most. This type of light will produce a more atmospheric light source rather than a functional one. A beautiful product to include in your sustainable and luxury bathroom interior.
🇬🇧 Original BTC is a British Company that designs and manufactures in the UK and ships all over the World. Being manufactured in the UK reduces the carbon footprint of their sustainable product. Their lighting is slightly retro in style, with some deco and industrial influences. The Hatton wall light, seen below, has a shade made from bone china and is IP20 rated. Their Art Deco-inspired Pillar wall lights with an IP44 rating are stylish classics very suitable for bathroom use.
Let's support British design!
🇬🇧 Another favourite I love to use is Tigermoth Lighting, they are a British company, designed and manufactured here in the UK. Elegant, stylish, and luxurious, some have an IP44 rating so can be used in bathrooms. This chandelier gives that extra 'wow' factor and looks great hanging over a bath at the correct building regulation height. (see zones, above) The price point for this company is mid to higher end. Another beautiful sustainable and luxury product.
WANT TO SAVE SOME MONEY ON YOUR
An electronic lighting system can save you 10% on your electric bill, although the initial investment is high.
It might be worth your while considering an electronic lighting system in your sustainable and luxury interior design homes, as it is efficient and allows you to control your lighting more effectively, such as a Lutron system, it's sophisticated and more expensive than most, and I would only suggest if your project is a new build or an extension where you can add the operating system as new. Another company is Crestron that provides similar functionality.
Nowadays, there are more cost-effective options we can use such as Nest now part of Google Store. This can be retrofitted by using a Google Home device, Google Assistant bulbs, and corresponding hubs. LED bulbs need to be used which most of us are already using in our homes.
If you haven't already, invest in changing your light fittings to take LED lamps, if compatible, you will save money over the long term in energy bills.
⭐️ Download this FREE GUIDE - 10 mistakes to avoid when designing your bathroom - a must-have to read along with! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD NOW!⭐️
3. DESIGN PRINCIPLES.
Remember these basic principles when creating your healthy, sustainable interior. 👇
✅ Plan ahead. Design principles that can be used relate back to the topics we have mentioned above, they are not exclusive of each other.
✅ As a designer we look at all of these elements together to maximise energy efficiency, best products to use, best use of products, materials, and space planning. The layout of the bathroom needs to work for you too and solve all of your design problems. Mood boards showing style, finishes, and products before you start are essential.
✅ Ideally, the bathroom should have a natural light source, if it doesn't the artificial light source designed needs to tick all the right boxes in terms of luxe level output, and colour of lamps/bulbs warm or white, warm bulbs replicate natural daylight.
Want that mood-enhancing lighting for a relaxing bath, candlelight, soothing music, intoxicating fragrance.....
⭐️ Being able to control the light source to replicate the changes in natural light through its Circadian cycle (daylight from the morning to night) would be beneficial as it will affect moods in either a positive or even negative direction.
⭐️ Anticipate plumbing problems and don't be caught short, access to water pumps, bath, and basin taps is important allowing for access traps or points in walls for maintenance or possible troubleshooting of pipework.
⭐️ Specifying sustainable products that meet safety standards for bathrooms and are fit for use in that environment is a standard requirement all designers should understand. Above all have fun with it!
👉If you would like more tips n how to create a sustainable and luxury interior, hop over to my private Facebook group Green & Glam
You can always contact me using this link if you would like more information on the products or design principles mentioned in this article.
We are always looking out for companies manufacturing sustainable products to add to our preferred supplier list. If you would like to be considered, please contact me here.