When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its Green Sports Resource Directory in August, I remembered the horse farm my son and I visited earlier this year. A sprawling establishment, with state-of-the-art stables, a vast indoor arena, 34 acres of beautiful land, and a big, old-fashioned farmhouse – the place must have cost a fortune to maintain. Or so I thought, until I noticed the solar panels blanketing one side of the barn roof. I asked the owner if using solar energy cut down on his costs. “My electricity bill is about $19 a month,” he said proudly. “No,” I said, “I don’t mean for the stables; I mean for the whole farm.” “Yep,” he said. “Nineteen dollars a month.”
Like the farm I visited, fitness facilities can save money by making “greener” choices — that is, by relying on sustainable energy sources. And not only can they save money; also, they can conserve valuable resources, reduce pollution, create safer environments for workers and clients, and use their investment in environmental protection to attract new clients and retain current ones.
The EPA’s Green Sports Resource Directory can help. A collection of online resources designed to help sports facilities, teams, colleges and universities clean up their acts, the website explains the benefits of green sports, offers inspiring success stories, and provides links to organizations devoted to helping sports-oriented businesses make environmentally sound decisions. It also links to tools that can help you track and control your facility’s energy consumption. These include EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager and lists of products that perform well and are cost efficient — while also being safer for the environment.
Chances are your business already has taken some steps toward becoming greener. You reuse, reduce, and recycle; you advise your employees not to print out e-mails unnecessarily, you communicate with your clientele virtually more than on paper; and you choose machines that use energy efficiently. But you probably can take your efforts further. Gyms and other fitness facilities require a ton of energy to power equipment, keep pools functioning, provide heat for showers and saunas, wash towels, and run general day-to-day operations. Can you invest in solar energy like the horse farm does? Can you find products that conserve energy and/or products that clean without harmful chemicals? Can you boost efforts to get everyone in your facility — managers, employees, and members alike — wasting less and conserving more?
Once you green your facility, you can effectively advertise your accomplishments – because like that farm-owner, you should be proud. Your efforts will benefit you and your community in untold ways, beyond the foreseeable future. If you are looking to make your business more efficient checkout our sports facility management software.