(Editors' Note: This article is part of Club Industry's report, "Trends That Will Affect the Fitness Industry in 2019," sponsored by SportsArt. You can download this report for free by going here.)
We, as consumers, employees, and as part of the general society, are rethinking the way we spend time and disposable income with a growing mistrust of companies that lack transparency. From car companies to companies’ use of our private data, consumer demands are shifting to the need for even more information, more transparency and a better understanding of how companies impact the environment. Social awareness has become a key component of corporate responsibility throughout many companies. Sustainability, which is defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the well-being of future generations, aligns well with fitness facilities and their goals with their clients. The modern gym member today expects a healthy and safe indoor environment with good air quality, lighting and comfortable temperatures while they work out. These eco-conscious members want to reduce their impact on the environment in all aspects of their lives. How might fitness facilities and those in the industry make this shift toward becoming more environmentally conscious? By integrating green strategies throughout the design and operations of facilities and putting green on display.
In our knowledge-hungry world, why not promote actions that make fitness an integral part of going green? Many fitness clubs’ goals entail pursuing eco-friendly labels, using green cleaning supplies and conserving energy and water. Third-party certification programs such as Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), FitWel, Energy Star, Living Building Challenge and the Well Building Standard provide systems to help facilities verify and validate their efforts to go green, according to the Green Building Alliance.
Some simple ways to let your members know about how their gym is going green include simple signage, sharing of green information on the facility’s website and sending out promotional materials. Do you have water stations that reduce the use of plastic in your facility? Add a small informational sign that explains the environmental benefits of water stations. Do you have fitness equipment that generates electricity? Organize a monthly challenge and provide incentives for members who produce the most energy with their workout. Are you using green cleaning products that help protect indoor air quality and reduce toxins in the facility? Use an eblast to let your members know about the safe products being used around them. Did you know a simple walk-off mat at your facility’s entrance helps protect indoor air quality by reducing pollutants in your facility? Let your members know why it’s there and how it benefits them. Have you selected flooring materials with high-recycled content that conserve the use of natural resources while reducing waste and have you incorporated non-toxic and low-emitting products throughout facility? Share it on your website.
The concept of sustainability also includes the use of nature within facilities. Biophilic design does just that through incorporating plants, living walls, natural textures and materials that promote positive cognitive impacts indoor. Biophilic design promotes an innovative way to reconnect people to nature and create a healthier and more productive environment, according to Pop Up City. Include information in your promotional materials about biophilic design and why you’ve included these natural elements in your facility.
There are many ways to showcase the positive steps you are taking to make your facility a green and healthy place for fitness. Assess what you are already doing, investigate green resources to find out what else you can do, and put green on display.
Ivo Grossi is CEO of the Americas for SportsArt. Grossi has 25 years of North American and international executive experience in the fitness, health and wellness industry.