10 Ways to Create an Environmentally Friendly Gym

Published on: 
25 October 19
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10 min read

Going green and being environmentally friendly are hot topics right now. From reducing plastic use to shopping locally, being considerate of the environment is essential for both households and businesses. Over the last year, 25% of businesses have increased their commitment to green policies and products, including some of the world’s largest corporations.  

Three in four Millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable products. The costs and logistics of going green have held some gyms back previously, but it could be a winning strategy with consumers willing to pay more for the eco-friendly option. With more businesses than ever committed to green products and services, there’s never been a better time to make changes. In this article, we will discuss how you can create an environmentally friendly gym. Skip ahead to:

3 Innovative and Eco-Friendly Gyms Around the World 

Promoting health and fitness to the public has always been a staple part of the health club industry. By supporting public health and encouraging an active lifestyle, gyms underpin healthy living. Now, health clubs are finding that by creating a sustainable business, it’s not only good for members and the environment but for revenue too. Here are three innovative and eco-friendly gyms from around the world. 

The Green Microgym, Portland 

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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. 

Terra Hale, London 

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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.   

Green Fitness Studio, New York 

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The boutique gym offers a range of classes, including Bikram, boxing, circuit training, mixed martial arts, 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. 

10 Ways to Make Your Gym More Eco-Friendly 

People are willing to spend more money on 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 to a green oasis, here are 10 ways you can make your gym more eco-friendly. 

1.Start Recycling 

Recycling programs can vary from city to city. Some programs are fantastic, and others not so much. Your members may recycle everything at home, or they might need a little help. Your members probably recycle at home and in the workplace, so it’s essential to show that you’re doing your part 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 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) in favor of 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. 

At the Kula Yoga Project in New York, old yoga mats are recycled for use as under rugs or donated to homeless shelters for extra padding for sleep. If you sell clothing or any other products, choose to sell the eco-friendly option. 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 Consumption 

There are several things you can do to reduce your water usage and utilize your water more efficiently in general. Implement smart water programs. You can save up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute by installing low flow showerheads, toilets, and faucets. Make sure to insulate all your hot water pipes and heaters.  

In 2015, UK gym Beach Fit rebranded to Eco Gym. After rebranding, the brand opened up two green health club locations. The company saw a significant increase in both retention and membership. The majority of the club’s membership is aged 18-35. The two locations have been so successful that the brand now offers franchise opportunities throughout Europe.   

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. Use Natural and Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies 

Cleaning products are not often thought of as pollutants. Although many cleaning products are effective at removing dirt and germs, they can also negatively impact the environment. 70% of American streams were found to contain laundry detergent. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) like phosphorus, ammonia, and nitrogen are some of the most hazardous chemicals to the environment. These toxic substances are also found in some household cleaners. 

The most significant effect of cleaning products come from the chemicals they contain, but, the packaging is also an issue. There are thousands of chemicals in use today, and many of their effects on the environment are relatively unknown. The toxins in cleaning products not only affect the environment but your health too. By choosing eco-friendly and natural cleaning supplies, you’re showing your members that you care about the world and their health.  

Here are some green resources to help you make environmentally friendly business decisions:

5. Provide Filtered Water 

According to the Container Recycling Institute, 100.7 billion plastic bottles were produced in 2015. Around 30% of plastic bottles and jars were actually recycled in 2015. That leaves a ton of plastic bottles left wasted that could end up in the ocean or environment. 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. Incorporate the cost of the filtered water into your membership prices to make sure it’s covered. Filtered water should appear to be free to use even if the cost is included in the membership.   

6. 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 

7. 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. If you can’t go entirely paperless, at least try to limit your paper use. 

By using management software, you can do things like sign waivers and create contracts digitally. 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. If you’re thinking about implementing a new member management system or want to upgrade your existing one, we’ve put together a guide on how to choose the right software for your fitness business.  

8. 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. 

9. Local, Organic and Sustainable 

If you have a juice bar, cafe, or just sell protein bars at reception, choose products that are local, organic, and sustainable. Locally grown food is not only full of flavor, but you help to support the local community and the environment. As the food is grown locally, you reduce the amount of travel time and miles needed and also 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.  

10. 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 

Sustainability is not only the right thing to do, but it could potentially save you money and bring in a new wave of eco-conscious gym-goers. 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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