What exactly is the meaning of an "eco-friendly" bathroom spa? There are many factors that contribute to this meaning, but a few examples are: environmental codes are dictating that brass fixtures are now lead-free. Plumbing companies are manufacturing toilets that are as low as 1.2 gallons a flush, down from 5 gallons. Basically, it means using water and energy saving fixtures, incorporating green products that don't harm your health or the environment, while relaxing, enjoying silence and being connected with yourself and nature. I'll break it down here:
~ Water and energy-saving:
WaterSense label: Established in 2006, this is an unbiased, 3rd party certification developed by the EPA for fixtures, toilets and shower heads that save water by 20%, thus saving money. Bathrooms, by far, use the most water in the house. So if you're interested in saving water and money, look for this label. Water is elemental and essential and has the power to soothe, heal and rejuvenate our bodies. Ancient cultures in Greece, China and Japan were among the first to develop hydrotherapy, which is the practice of submerging your body in water for medicinal purposes. The natural minerals in water help to detoxify the body, and in general, help relieve pain and sore muscles. Some companies offer bathtubs with everything from massaging air jets to hydrotherapy and LED chromotherapy. Chromotherapy is a method of treatment that uses the visible spectrum of colors' electromagnetic waves to heal the body. The hues include blue for serenity and calming, white for clarifying and green for balancing. One of the leaders in eco-friendly bathroom fixtures is the company TOTO, http://www.totousa.com/ which manufactures baths with air jets that provide massages with different settings from a gentle massage to a more vigorous one. It has an integrated silencer on the motor so that you can enjoy a quiet bath.
|MTI Whirlpools' Elena tub|
|Native Trails copper tub|
Offering artisan-crafted, earth friendly, freestanding tubs made of recycled copper melted down from electrical wiring, pipes, etc is the company Native Trails. This company suggests that copper has anti-bacterial properties. (I didn't know that!) The copper products often show nicks and other imperfections since they are made by hand by these skilled workers.You can learn more at http://www.nativetrails.net/
More on water: Also certified by WaterSense, the company Jaclo http://www.jaclo.com/ offers the true spa experience with their Quadrato showerhead which has 350 jets that stream a rain shower from the 16" metal plate mounted from the ceiling. You have the option of going from one color to the changing color mode of all 12 LED lights; once again, incorporating the chromotherapy treatment into the total shower experience.
~ Bathroom Vanities:
Replacing the wall to wall counter tops with single or double sinks are the furniture style vanities. Some have elaborate carved legs while others are simpler styles; they range from rustic to glamorous and everything in between, but the bottom line is that freestanding bathroom vanities are in. Exciting combinations of wood, bamboo and metal bases support these glass and stone vessel sinks as well as solid tops. Again, Native Trails offers great products in this category. Their 36" wide Chardonnay Vanity is made in the U.S.A. of reclaimed white wine-stained oaking staves, used for flavoring wine during the fermenting process. The result is, it infuses tannins and aroma, giving it a grape-colored, natural stain.
|An example of a glamorous style spotlighting MTI's mirrored vanity|
|MTI's 36" transitional vanity with antique mirrored door panels|
|Native Trails Chardonnay Vanity|
Xylem's bambu vanity is part of a collection with an eco-renewable bamboo veneer over solid poplar wood that can be wall-mounted or floor-standing. It comes equipped with two large drawers. Xylem uses a finishing process that reduces waste in manufacturing and eliminates harmful chemicals from the staining and coating process.
Delta Faucet offers Touch2O technology (this is the only time I'll mention technology here) You can touch it to make it go on or off, and after seconds of removing your hands, automatically shuts off. It senses your presence within 4" and helps conserve water. If your hands are messy, you simply tap it with the back
of your hand. Great for kids!
Walls and floors: stone, glass, porcelain or slate are other natural materials that look beautiful and are durable and offer practicality for bathrooms which inevitably get a lot of water. Mosaics are very popular now and natural scenes using mosaic tile designs such as flowers, leaves and birds can be installed to help bring the outdoors in. Mixing glass and stone enhances a room with color and natural beauty. A great company for no-VOC paints, formaldehyde-free caulks and adhesives for your spa retreat is http://www.afmsafecoat.com/
~ Other suggestions:
Bamboo or 100% organic cotton towels and bath robes
Radiant heat flooring (easier to have installed prior to tile flooring installation or best during new construction or renovation)
Candles, candles and more candles
Towel warmer racks; freestanding or wall mountable.
Steam Room and Sauna Room additions
~ Enjoy your peaceful, sensory spa experience!