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Big resource savings for small health club Think Fitness 4 Less

When Borders-based Think Fitness witnessed the difference that resource efficiency like LED lighting and tap technology could make to its bottom line, it asked us to identify more money saving opportunities.

A summary of what was achieved and what key things the business did.

  • Almost £4000 of extra resource savings identified by the service
  • LED lighting leads the way in cost savings
  • Simple tap technology fittings saves water and energy

When Borders-based Think Fitness 4 Less swapped its old inefficient oil-fired boiler for a modern gas condensing model, its energy bills were slashed. Seeing how resource efficiency measures could impact its bottom line inspired the company to look for more. Greg Dalgleish and Stuart Oliver, who opened the health club in 2001, got in touch to see if we might have any fresh resource-saving ideas. Of course we did, eventually identifying a further £4,000 a year in savings through improvements to lighting, water and waste.

Within a year of starting Think Fitness, Dalgleish and Oliver won the Shell/Livewire ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award for the Scottish Borders. Since then, they’ve worked continually to innovate and improve the club’s operations and resource efficiency. In 2012, they replaced their ageing oil-fired boiler with a new, high efficiency condensing gas boiler. This improved the effectiveness of the heating system and reduced annual heating costs by an estimated £8,500. Which is handy when you have saunas to heat.

Following on from this success, our expert advisors decided to look first at lighting. Although some energy efficient lighting had been installed in parts of the premises it didn’t light the rooms to the required standard. There were concerns that this was having a negative impact on people’s experience in the gym.

A refurbishment of the gym was being planned so it made sense to jump on the back of that and install LED lighting at the same time. Although more expensive to buy upfront, LED lighting only uses about 10 per cent of the energy of an incandescent bulb for the same light output, and it lasts about 40 times as long. Additionally, LEDs they don’t need to be changed as frequently so maintenance costs are reduced.

We conducted a successful trial using LEDs in a small area of the gym, which helped the company make the decision to install it throughout the building. We also advised putting presence sensors in the fitness studio and changing rooms so that lighting was only switched on when people were in the room. This made sense because these spaces account for 25 per cent of all the lighting in the building and yet have long periods of time when no one using them.

With these relatively simple improvements, Think Fitness 4 Less was expected to save another £3,300 per year.

To save water and corresponding energy use, we suggested a couple of simple tap fittings. Aerating showerheads and percussion taps are quick and easy for a plumber to install and can be retrofitted to most systems. These measures cut £700 from the company’s annual water bill.

Another small but worthwhile change was the installation of hand driers in the bathrooms to cut down on paper towel use. The company found it reduced paper towel use by 70 per cent, and it only took two years to pay back on the investment.

“Who would have thought that a company of our size could make annual savings of over £12,000 so easily? I would encourage all businesses to look at their resource use as a great way of saving money,” says Greg Dalgleish, Co-owner & Fitness Manager, Think Fitness 4 Less.

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