Experience

9 Ways to Create an Environmentally Friendly Gym

Lucy Connor
22 April 21
11 min read
environmentally-friendly gym

Going green and being environmentally friendly are important topics in today’s world. From reducing plastic use to shopping locally, many people are now consciously making changes to be more considerate of our environment.  

According to a 2020 report from IBM, which surveyed 18,980 consumers in 28 countries, almost 80% of respondents indicate sustainability is important for them. For those who noted it is very/extremely important, over 70% would pay a premium of 35%, on average, for sustainable and environmentally responsible brands.

As consumers increasingly embrace social causes, they seek products and brands that align with their values. Three in four Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products. With more businesses than ever committed to green products and services, there’s never been a better time to address how you can do the same for your fitness business. Here, we will outline how you can achieve a competitive edge in the industry by using some simple business practices to create a more environmentally friendly gym. Skip ahead to:

What Does Being an Eco-friendly Business Mean?

On the whole, the term ‘sustainability’ focuses on fulfilling society’s current needs without jeopardizing the needs of future generations. The three foundations of sustainability are economic, environmental, and social; these are also known as the “three P’s”: profits, planet, and people.

Being an environmentally sustainable business means actively choosing to take actions in the best interests of the environment. Each year, concerns over environmental impacts are becoming more prominent in society, and there are lots of small things a business owner can do to help. 

Why Is It Important to Focus on Being More Eco-friendly?

Running an environmentally friendly gym will help your business reduce its impact on the environment and help to preserve natural resources. As we mentioned in the introduction, today’s consumers are growing ever more conscious of their actions and how they impact our environment. Now more than ever, people want to invest in brands and products that are taking action – and your gym can be one that paves the way for change.

In the long run, making your gym more environmentally friendly will not only benefit our planet but can also be an effective way for your business to save money. Going green may mean access to tax credits and incentives, improved efficiency, healthier workplaces, and overall cost savings. 

3 Innovative and Eco-friendly Gyms around the World 

As a gym owner, there are many changes, some big and some small, that you can make to help the environment. In this section, we’ll look at 3 innovative eco-friendly gyms from around the world that are paving the way. 

1. The Green Microgym, Portland 

Website: https://www.thegreenmicrogym.com/ 

The Green Microgym is all about the environment. Eco-conscious gym-goers can rest assured their hard work is going to good use. The studio captures energy from high-tech bikes and epileptic machines to power the facility. The gym uses about 85% less electricity with a carbon footprint, one-tenth the size of a traditional gym, per square foot. 

2. Terra Hale, London 

Website: https://www.terrahale.com/ 

Terra Hale is London’s first eco-friendly, human-powered gym. It harnesses the energy from people’s workouts to power the facility. The high-end studio is free from single-use plastics, uses recycled materials throughout, organic cleansing and beauty products, and sustainably-sourced timber.   

3. Green Fitness Studio, New York 

Website: https://greenfitnessstudio.com/ 

This boutique gym offers various classes, including spinning, yoga, pilates, boxing, and more. The studio is all about sustainability with its reclaimed rubber floors, low-flow showerheads, energy-efficiency infrared sauna, and equipment made from recycled metal. 

9 Ways to Make Your Gym More Eco-Friendly 

People are more willing to invest in something if it’s good for the earth and the people in it. The loyalty to green can’t be overstated, with the young demographic particularly interested in choosing eco-friendly products and businesses. 73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Whether you want to start making small changes or completely transition your gym into a green oasis, here are 9 ways you can make your gym more eco-friendly. 

1. Start Recycling 

Recycling programs can vary from city to city, so you’ll need to look into what options you have in your area. Your members may recycle at home and in the workplace, so it’s important to show that you’re doing your part as well. Plus, for those who aren’t environmentally aware of their choices when it comes to recycling, having systems in place at your gym will likely encourage them to make more green decisions at home as well. 

Try to make it as easy as possible for members to recycle. Set up recycling bins in your fitness center with clear instructions. Have a place for cans, glass bottles, plastics, and paper. Recycling should form a part of your new member induction as well as employee training. You can then arrange for your recycling to be taken directly to the recycling plant every week or so.  

2. Eco-Friendly Gym Supplies 

When you’re stocking your gym with supplies, think about every item. This can include everything from office supplies to the products you choose to sell from your gym. A yoga studio might look to fill out the studio with sustainably sourced yoga mats. Some yoga teachers are already starting to phase out mats made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) to favor less toxic alternatives. Like many chemicals, PVC has a massive impact on the environment. The manufacturing process of PVC products releases harmful dioxins into the air and water. 

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If you’re a yoga studio and members currently bring their own mats to class, seek out environmentally friendly suppliers that you can recommend to students. Liforme, for example, offers a wide range of planet-friendly mats. All mats are biodegradable, non-toxic, and PVC-free. The brand has also partnered with a selection of charities to honor its dedication to sustainability conservation.

Choosing eco-friendly supplies doesn’t need to include a complete haul of your existing products. But, moving forward, you can consider the environment with any buying decisions you have to make. 

3. Reduce Water Waste 

You can do several things to reduce water waste, especially when it comes to your locker rooms. You can save up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute by implementing smart water programs like installing low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucets. Make sure to insulate all your hot water pipes and heaters.  

To go really green, you can adopt a greywater recycling system. Greywater or recycled water can be used in your laundry and bathroom facilities. You can save up to 12,775 gallons of water per capita per year by using greywater. You also have the option to collect rainwater to use externally on gardens.   

4. Reduce Plastic Use 

As of 2018, a Statista report shows that the recycling rate of PET plastic bottles in Norway was 97%, making it a world leader in recycling. In comparison, the recycling rate of these plastic bottles in the United States was just 29%. Globally, recycling rates for plastics are improving each year, but a huge amount of waste still ends up in landfills.

Instead of selling single-use plastic water bottles, provide filtered water. This allows members to bring their own refillable water bottle and fill up as they need to. Sell your own branded reusable water bottles and provide unlimited free filtered water. This not only encourages the reduction of single-use plastics but offers a little bit of advertising and money from selling the bottle. Boutique studio 1Rebel has taken a stand to ban single-use plastics at its facilities. Members can either bring their own bottles or rent a bottle to fill directly from the studio.

Its #RebelAgainstPlastic movement extends to its online store, promising that purchases will have zero plastic packaging when it’s delivered, with “no unnecessary bags, labels, or wrapping that could upset the environment.” 10% of profits from these products are donated to the brand’s Plastic Patrol charity.

5. Efficient Lighting and Temperature Control 

Indoor lighting can be a considerable cost for gyms. Installing LED lightbulbs can save 20-30% off conventional lighting. Another option is to install a skylight. This not only saves on electricity but provides a very inviting environment. Natural light can have a significant impact on the look and feel of a space. 

Air conditioning and temperature control can also be taxing on both energy costs and the environment. Keeping your air conditioning system maintained and choosing energy-efficient systems can cut energy bills by 10 to 20%. Here are a few ideas to help you save energy and be more green:

  • Change to energy-efficient lightbulbs 
  • Install motion sensors for lights in changing rooms, bathrooms, hallways, etc. 
  • Stay up-to-date with your HVAC maintenance 
  • Program your thermostat 
  • Use solar panels 

6. Go Paperless 

With email, instant messaging, and management software, the need to use paper in business is decreasing. On average, it takes five liters of water to produce a page of A4 paper. Around 50% of the waste from businesses consists of paper. 

Going paperless by providing services like an app where clients can book in and manage their classes, and E-agreements for signing waivers is a simple way to do this at your gym. As well as not using paper, it also helps you to stay more organized. You no longer have to file your paperwork in a cabinet; it’s all stored digitally precisely where you want it.

7. Energy-Efficient Tech and Gym Equipment 

Gym equipment can take up a good chunk of your electricity. The manufacturing process of gym equipment can also impact the environment. One option is to choose mats, barbels, and other types of equipment that are made from recycled materials. Brands like Precor and Life Fitness design and produce equipment like climbers and cycles that only require the energy from your members to power them. They also provide treadmills that use less energy than traditional ones. 

Another innovative brand in the green equipment space is SportsArt. With its revolutionary ECO-POWR™ technology, it captures human exertion and turns it into usable energy to benefit the planet and your business. The equipment line includes a treadmill, cycle, cross trainer, and elliptical. When you’re thinking about your environmental footprint, consider your flooring as well. Even materials like recycled rubber can have a high carbon footprint. Consider options like bamboo and cork as they are very sustainable and an excellent choice for flooring. 

8. Local, Organic and Sustainable 

If you have a juice bar or cafe, try to opt for local, organic, and sustainable products. As well as supporting sustainability, sourcing locally grown produce is a great way to invest in your community and other local businesses. As the food is grown locally, you reduce the amount of travel time and miles needed and promote a safer food supply. With fewer opportunities for contamination, you can give your members the best option. The larger the distance between harvesting, washing, shipping, and distribution, the bigger the chance of contamination.  

9. Partner with Sustainable Companies 

When looking for businesses to partner with, think about their sustainability practices. Whether it’s workout gear, yoga mats, protein powder, or beauty products, consider how sustainable the company is. If you’re taking the time and effort to make your gym more environmentally friendly, you don’t want to partner up with a brand that makes no effort, as this could damage your reputation as an eco-conscious business owner. 

Stock your gym with products that are long-lasting and support your way of thinking. For example, the brand Suga Mats creates yoga mats entirely made from recycled wetsuits. Washington-based activewear brand Girlfriend Collective produces clothes made from recycled plastic bottles. It sources its bottles from Taiwan, a world leader in recycling. Check out this podcast from Balance Media; they chat with activewear eco-friendly business owner Grace Beverly about the ups and downs of running an environmentally friendly business

In Summary 

Whether you want to open an eco powerhouse gym or are looking to improve your environmentally friendly credits, there are several ways to transform your business. From low-cost changes like installing energy-efficient lighting to human-powered gym equipment, you can start contributing to a healthier planet. 

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