The Epitome of an Un-green Bathroom

The good news is that I have a perfect example of a bathroom that breaks some of the basic rules of green building.

The bad news is, the bathroom is in my house.

Ideally, to cut back on energy use, a bathroom should have natural light and natural ventilation. This bathroom has neither.

Despite the fact that this house is in coastal California where the air is gentle and sweet. Despite the fact that this room has an outside wall and no second story above to preclude an operable window or skylight for ventilation.

Despite all these wonderful attributes, when you enter this bathroom, even in the middle of the day, you must turn on the light and you must turn on the fan. No fossil fuels burning, no light, no air. That is preposterous.

Green building is not about tofu and sprouts. It’s about channeling the power of nature — as in sunlight, wind, air — to benefit us in our homes, and it’s about not blocking that power. This room blocks that power and insists that you artificially replace it.

So, we are now at the point of redoing this bathroom. While the original builders had a good idea by installing the clerestory window above the shower area, to allow in light if not air, that benefit was later blocked by the wooden trim over the shower.

I will keep you posted as we tear out that offending structure and attempt to bring natural light and air back into this room. These green improvements are 30 years late, but, I believe, not too late.