Green technology has become increasingly pervasive in areas and fields not commonly associated with eco-friendly environments, The Greenasium is one example of green emergent technology moving into a mainstay of mainstream entertainment.
ARCHI-TECH: How did you come up with the concept of a green gym?
Spratt: The idea was sparked from the three of us who are owners. About two years ago, we were all working out at a bigger, chain fitness facility and thought there has to be a better way to harness some of the energy that was in there. We had been talking and decided that we wanted to start our own company and give back to the community – and do it in an environmentally balanced way.
ARCHI-TECH: Does your building owner share your same green vision?
Spratt: When we were looking for spaces, the traditional thinking is "we want to start a green company so let's install solar panels up on the roof." That's just not in the budgets for small businesses that are going to be leasing a space – our money is wrapped up in other places. We were challenged from the beginning to find a place that would allow us to make our additions and follow our business. We lease the space and we want to be able to take as much with us as possible if we're going to move or they decide that they want to go in a different direction.
ARCHI-TECH: What changes did you have to make to the facility itself, that you wouldn't have had to make if it was going to be a regular gym or office facility, in order to turn it into the green gym?
Spratt: The interesting thing is that before we moved in, the previous space was a gym, so it was already an open space. We had to replace the carpet – now what we have is recycled rubber. There is also sustainable bamboo flooring. We had to make some modifications to the change facilities, but we used a lot of the shelving and other wood material that was already in the building – we made some sitting areas and our front desk. We repainted and we used zero-VOC paint.
ARCHI-TECH: How are the cardio machines rigged up to offset the electricity?
Spratt: We bought the machines – three cycles from Resource Fitness in Seattle. They added a small fly wheel to the larger wheel on the spin bike so that when you get on the bike and pedal, it turns a big wheel on the front, which in turn makes another little wheel spin that generates electricity on a converter. That converter is mounted on the front of the bike and sends electricity out to the grid – they call it plug-out technology.
The theory behind it is that when you're on the bikes, you're pedaling and you're generating electricity. But being a business, you can't rely on everyone being on a bike the whole time because you have the credit card machine, computers, music – all taking power. We try to offset as much of the electricity as we can by the bikes – but at the end of the month, our electricity bill isn't zero. So what we do is we find out a way to balance out our actions somewhere else – like volunteer work and beach cleanups.
ARCHI-TECH: Do you have any recommendations for others who are wanting to implement your green techniques?
Spratt: Start with a piece of paper and write down as you walk in your business everything that is generated – whether it's waste or electricity, how much ink you're using on printing, and so forth. Awareness is all it really is. When people understand, it generates awareness and then that flows over into home life and into the community. The biggest thing is to look at where money is going out – lights, water, trash – and start from there to make small changes.
As green technology becomes more available, expect to see environmentally-friendly entertainment and leisure facilities follow suit with industry innovators in bringing sustainable solutions to the forefront.