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Chelsea Piers Joins the List of Health Clubs Going Green

New York — Chelsea Piers is joining a growing number of health clubs in becoming more eco-friendly by launching a complex-wide "green" initiative.

In October, the New York club began purchasing 100 percent green wind power in the form of Green-E certified Renewal Energy Credits equal to its annual projected electricity usage. It also became a Green Power Leadership Club member with the Environmental Protection Agency. Leadership Club requirements include purchasing at least 20 percent green power generated from renewable resources over a one-year period.

Going green is a growing trend among larger fitness facilities, says Will Phillips, founder of REX Roundtables for Executives and

"Of the larger clubs, I'd say 80 percent of the owners would say it would be good for us to be greener," he says.

The best opportunities to go green are in areas that also help owners save money, Phillips says. One club owner Phillips talked with put in two high-velocity hand driers, saving $500 a month on paper towels, he says. Chelsea Piers retrofitted more than 100 restroom/wash areas with green paper products and paper dispensers as part of its initiative.

The company also invested more than $200,000 in energy-efficient lighting systems. Phillips says that indoor lamping can offer big savings, especially in areas such as tennis courts or indoor pools.

"Every year or two, there are improvements in technology that reduce energy costs but don't impact lighting," he says.

Philips notes that simply replacing incandescent light bulbs with more efficient fluorescent bulbs can help save energy costs.

Chelsea Piers also instituted a recycling program and started a grass-roots employee support program in which employees volunteer on Green Teams at each sports venue to analyze their business.

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