You've probably heard the term "sustainability" tossed around more and more in the past decade or so. I even took an entire semester-long course on its application to business during my time in college a few years ago. Increased awareness has caused many companies around the world to "go green" in an effort to reduce their environmental footprint. Facilities that have several dozen (or maybe even several hundred) pieces of equipment plugged in and running for up to 24 hours a day may find the task of reducing energy use seemingly impossible.
The benefits of going green not only positively affect the planet, but can also impact your brand and your bottom line in several ways. Obviously, by reducing your energy usage you'll notice a lower monthly bill from your energy provider. But sustainability goes beyond just cutting your energy costs.
As people increasingly see the importance of opting for a more sustainable lifestyle, you can bring a strong message to market that will help grow your membership. In fact, studies show that younger consumers are more likely to place their loyalty in a brand that supports a cause that is important to them (even if another company or brand is more convenient or less expensive); and since the millennial and Gen Z cohorts comprise the largest share of the generational market, it should be a top priority to appeal to them. Communicating that your facility is focused on sustainability and decreasing energy use will attract new members and increase member retention — and who doesn't want that?
From easy switches to major investments, there are a lot of ways you can transform your facility into a sustainable machine. For example, consider installing motion-sensor lights that turn off after certain periods of inactivity, or using more energy-efficient bulbs that will help save on overall energy consumption. Don't forget, sustainability also means using products that are "planet-friendly" or "green," manufactured without harmful chemicals or byproducts that wreak havoc on our environment.
If you're looking to make a bigger investment in sustainability, consider replacing your old machines with energy-efficient models that will cut down on energy expenditure over time. If you want to take that even one step further, consider an energy-generating machine that converts exercisers' standard cardio routine into actual energy your facility can use.
Make sure to get your end-users involved, too! Initiate a program that rewards patrons for being green — for everything from bringing their own towel to creating energy for your facility on your energy-generating equipment — then offer them perks like a free class pass, a branded T-shirt, a membership discount, or something else that resonates with your target audience. Incorporating a rewards program can also increase retention, especially if it's a cause that's important to users of your facility.
If you want to learn more about and explore sustainable solutions for your facility, head to New Orleans this November and join us at AB Show 2018 to "Discover What's Possible." Learn more and register at abshow.com/mag.
This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "AB Show: Going Green is Here to Stay." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.