Today many businesses are trying to serve their own bottom line, customers and our Mother Earth all at the same time… and it is working! Health clubs, in particular, seem to have a real opportunity to make an impact on the health of our planet and our people by encouraging healthy, sustainable habits, the use of more eco-friendly products, and even cleaner energy. Following are two brief case studies of clubs on opposite corners of our country who have taken green to the extreme, and business is booming.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Go Organic
The owner of the Lafayette Health Club in Lafayette, California recognized some time ago that a health club should be dedicated to full health for their members. This meant not simply catering to their need to burn fat and build muscle, but also to making a better environment and better products. Concerned about the fact that so many potentially dangerous chemicals and ingredients were plaguing our lotions and soaps, Lafayette started to carry organic, all natural products to help their customers stay conditioned and attractive in a healthy, natural way.
Lafayette has also switched to all natural green products for their building maintenance and cleaning, and even low volatiles paints, seeking to make the air healthier for everyone to breathe. In addition to this commitment to members, Lafayette has also committed to the community. The fitness center itself recycles, but it has also become a drop off center for various recyclable items, making it easier for the entire community to recycle as well.
Other green initiatives at this club include water conservation and more careful use of electricity. From low flow shower heads and toilets to installing new energy efficient windows, Lafayette is getting the building itself to be more green. The staff also encourages customers to use reusable water bottles rather than disposable plastic bottles, selling stainless steel bottles at the front desk and making filtered water filling stations available around the facility.
Generate Electricity with Human Pedal Power
One health club in Connecticut has taken green beyond simply recycling, selling organic smoothies or organizing park clean-ups. Located in Orange, Connecticut, Go Green Fitness has taken green to an entirely new level by using pedal power to help run various electronic equipment throughout the gym. At Go Green Fitness, spin class stationary bicycles have been connected to an electrical generator which actually turns the pedal powered workouts of the 5am spin class into electrical power that is sent back to the grid. According to one news report, a single spin class in the morning generates enough power to offset the air conditioner for the entire day.
Go Green Fitness maintains an updated energy counter on their website which shows how much power their cycling members have generated to date and how much that has equated to. For example, as of the writing of this article the club members had generated a total of 943 Kwh of power since it was installed in October of 2009. This electricity has avoided the release of 854 pounds of carbon dioxide that would have been sent into the atmosphere had the club used traditional energy sources during this period, according to their site.
For Go Green Fitness, this commitment to cleaner energy is not just about being good to the environment. The cost savings has also been excellent, and Go Green has passed much of that savings on to their customers in the form of some of the lowest gym membership fees across the country. Members of Go Green Fitness love the ability to work out hard and watch the energy build up while the calories burn away.
Going green is a great idea for any business, and one that can often have a positive impact on the bottom line. For health clubs it seems an even more obvious choice as personal health and wellness goes along with global health.