Going the Extra (Green) Mile

SportsArt ECO-POWR line at Sacramento Eco Fitness

A growing trend in the fitness industry is making health clubs more “green,” implementing technology that reduces energy consumption, in an effort to reduce a club’s carbon footprint.

For Jose Avina, the owner of Sacramento Eco Fitness, going green is a responsible practice for any fitness center. The California-based club has taken several measures to become eco-friendlier.

One of those measures included putting energy-converters on all of its cardio machines. “Those don’t consume energy at all, so the individual needs to produce the energy to power the machine,” said Avina. “Whatever is left over that someone doesn’t use goes directly back into the grid.”

When making the switch to “green,” it’s important to choose equipment that most efficiently uses or creates energy. For Avina, that equipment was SportsArt’s ECO-POWR line. These “off-the-grid” machines break the convention of typical workout spaces in other health clubs.

“All we have are [SportsArt] ECO-POWR cardio machines, which turn off automatically and don’t consume any energy when they’re not being used,” said Avina. “The member is producing the watts they need to be able to power that machine. The faster they go, the more watts they can produce.”

This practice has been extremely beneficial to the club’s energy consumption, according to Avina. However, he didn’t want to stop there. The next step was using green means to power larger portions of the facility.

“We went and installed solar panels and installed a battery where we can store what we’re producing with our [indoor] cycles,” said Avina. “But that wasn’t enough energy to actually power the building itself, so we went ahead and installed some solar panels that produce the energy we need so we can have an excess amount. We can power our fans, the sound system, the lights, and anything else that needs to be powered — we can use that green energy.”

There are many benefits to going green for your health club, but these changes can also have a positive effect on your members. Such was the case for Sacramento Eco Fitness. “Our members become very active with what they’re doing, not only with their fitness programs, but they’ve now become more eco-conscious,” said Avina. “Education is one of the biggest things members are taking away from this.”

Avina explained members have to understand the benefits of self-generating power for the environment. And, he hopes to one day be able to provide tangible perks, such as credits toward members’ taxes from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

“If we can get to a better solution where we can sell the energy back and then the members can reduce their membership fees by working out because they’re producing the energy anyway, that’s the ultimate goal,” said Avina.

Going green might seem like a drastic change — after all, a lot of equipment replacement and facility changes will be necessary — but the end result will be well worth it. For clubs wishing to make the switch to a more eco-conscious facility, Avina offered his advice.  “Reach out to us,” he encouraged. “We’ve problem-solved a lot of the current issues.”

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