Power Down

Conserving energy saves money as well as the planet

In a world going green, energy efficiency is a clear winner for both your ecological footprint and your bottom line.

"We all need to have a green strategy today," says Shane Price, the CEO of Green Circle Salons, a company that helps both salons and spas make green choices. "The conversations about green aren't just warm, fuzzy conversations around board tables, it's business critical and this industry is lagging behind tremendously."

Energy savings represent a huge part of a successful environmental plan. "Especially in this industry, if you think of all the water usage and the energy usage there's a tremendous footprint or impact on the planet," says Price. "As the price of energy increases you look for opportunities for cost savings within your business."

Energy reduction made easy
One of the best ways to save is to switch from the typical halogen lights used in spas to LEDs. Also because of the amount of water usage, high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters are important.

Green Circle Salons helps owners make that transition to greener practices. It offers a recycling service and give owners a platform to implement green practices, focus on revenue and get noticed through a green salon/spa directory. Members add $1.50 to every bill with a portion going to Green Circle Salons to maintain their program. The rest goes toward building a Green Change Purse, which is a funding mechanism that can help spa owners implement the energy saving measures they need.

Price says there are many benefits to membership, with more sustainability leading to more profits and current members reporting that they are gaining new clients. "One obvious benefit is they sleep better knowing they're able to reduce their business' environmental footprint tremendously," says Price.

Energy smart spas reap benefits
Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain is an example of progressive action for energy reduction. Located on a naturally forested 50-acre parcel of land near Ontario's Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment, "we were really very, very aware of that footprint that we were going to create," says Mylisa Henderson, director of marketing and sales. "We may not actually toot our own horn about some of the green initiatives that we are trying to do but for us it's about doing what is right and fitting into the area we live in."

To offset its footprint the spa instituted numerous green initiatives, with the most important being energy saving measures.

The spa is powered by natural gas but in order to limit the amount of energy and gas consumed, a system is in place to circulate the hot energy from the cold plunge pools back into the hot water system for the hot baths.

"It's especially efficient in the summer time obviously, as the baths heat up and the cold baths, because they're shallow, get so hot we're able to convert that energy back into the hot water and not have to consume the natural gas," she says.

Infinima Spa, in Quebec, instituted numerous energy-saving measures in large part because studies indicated spa goers had a very green state of mind.

The spa boasts an automated lighting system, with LED lights for 95 per cent of the spa. There's also a ventilation machine on the roof that takes cold air in and makes it warm. Fourteen thermal pumps transfer the heat generated from the Nordic baths to heat other rooms instead of using gas. "We're taking the heat from the hot tub or baths and we spread it all over the spa," says Infinima spa owner Jean-Francois Pouliot.

A smart spa remains open to opportunities for improvement, and Pouliot remains on the lookout for new ways to save energy. "We're always trying to make our operation and processes greener," he says.

Talk about a win-win: reduced environmental impact and cost savings—now that's smart business.

  1. Switch to LED bulbs
  2. Institute an automated lighting system
  3. Use alternative fuel sources
  4. Ensure rooms are properly insulated
  5. Switch to high efficiency furnaces and water heaters

by Nicolas Heffernan | Spring 2013