Fitness industry doing its part to be green and sustainable
Wed, June 4, 2014 at 14:35
Brad Spiegel in Bill Selby, Chuck Richards, Club Northwest, Green, Jim Zupancic, News, Patrick Palmer, Stafford Hills Club, Sunset Athletic Club, Sustainability, Tucson Racquet and Fitness, solar

Solar panels on the Tucson Racquet and Fitness roof.The health and fitness industry and employing sustainable and green practices would seem to go hand-in-hand. The industry is about being healthy, clean and running at optimal efficiency, so a club doing the same for the environment and one’s surrounding area seems to make a lot of sense.

Many club owners and managers feel the same way. And there are countless reasons why a company would make the decision to be green and conscious of the earth and their environs.

Case in point, check out some of the reasons of these four clubs:

“When you talk about sustainability in our business, its’ sustainability of your life,” Zupancic explained. “And when you talk about sustainability of nature, it’s completely synergistic. I think it is a very consistent message that we respect not just our bodies, but all things around us.”

The beauty of being green is in many cases you save green in the process. While that is not the end-goal for all, it certainly is a nice bonus.

The pool at Sunset Athletic Club is heated by solar power.Richards, at Sunset Athletic Club in Tucson, has instituted numerous changes that have resulted in more money in the coffers, between energy efficiency and government and utility company rebates. 

He recently finished a project to replace 250-watt metal halide lights in the parking lot with 40-watt LED lights. The 17 lights cost him $12,000 to replace but with a $4,000 rebate and energy savings of $2,000 a year, it will be paid off in four years. Plus, he is using one-fourth of the energy. He has seen similar results in changes to LEDs inside the club and in racquetball and tennis courts.

Lighting isn’t Sunset’s only area of being green. The pool is heated by solar panels, and when painting or putting in flooring Richards always looks to local providers so there is less gas and emissions used by trucks delivering the products.

And the efforts are not going unnoticed.

“Just (last week) I heard comments from members who thought what we are doing is great,” Richards said. “They know we have ongoing mantra of sustainability and being green as much as can.”

For Zupancic, an IHRSA board member, the efforts were much easier than they would have been for others. Since his club is less than two years old he was able to put in green and sustainable measures right from the get-go. 

The features at Stafford Hills Club include high-energy glass, plenty of sunlight for less use of lights, solar power, biodegradable cleaning products, high-efficiency appliances, and encouraging members to use reusable water bottles. He, like Richards, receives many rebates.

Stafford Hills Club has a salt water pool in order to not have to use chemicals.“We tried to be very thoughtful to set things up in way that motivates people to be thoughtful of conservation of resources,” said Zupancic. “Oregon was the first in country with a bottle bill, so conservation is part of the nature here. The fact that we do it at the club makes members feel like it is an extension of what they do at home.”

Selby’s efforts over the past two years have resulted in huge savings for Tucson Racquet and Fitness. 

“(These projects) are things we have wanted to do for quite awhile,” said Selby, who uses green cleaning, pest control and weed control products. “The timing ended up being great with the rebates."

Club Northwest, another club in environment-friendly Oregon, use recycled materials in the club’s Spa, like cups, utensils and paper products, as well as paperless billing, salt water pools and efficient lighting. It even sports a 400-square-foot recycling area.

“Our Club Northwest Green Team supports the responsible stewardship of our environment for the wellness of our members as well as our planet,” said Parker, Facilities manager and Green Team director.


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