Posted on March 27, 2020 by Gordon Smith

Last year, the Government announced that the UK needs to be carbon free by 2050.

This isn’t a message purely focused at the industrial or manufacturing sector, this is something we all have to strive for, from homeowners, property developers, hotel and gym owners.

At motive8, we believe passionately in reducing our carbon footprint so we’re making sure that all new gyms we create are more eco-friendly.

We recently designed and created Supersonic Fitness, a high-end gym in York, which has been created with green in mind. Let’s take a look at what we’ve done to reduce Supersonic’s carbon footprint and enhance its sustainable credentials.

About Supersonic

Supersonic is a boutique gym based in York. Describing itself as a ‘sanctuary’, the aim of the gym is to take a holistic approach to fitness and wellbeing. Based in an old music venue, Supersonic has been created to help people not just meet their fitness goals but also be a space for people looking to focus on mindfulness or general wellbeing.

Everything about Supersonic has wellbeing in mind, and with that comes the need to be more eco-friendly. Bright, energy-zapping lighting, or harsh plastic or manufactured materials are not going to bring about a sense of wellbeing. Environment and wellness go very much hand-in-hand.

Nick Sadler, MD, motive8 says:

‘Eco and wellness are intrinsically linked. You go to a gym to boost wellbeing, so the space around you should reflect and encourage that state of mind.’

Energy-efficient lighting

As Supersonic is based in a refurbished building, this gave us a great opportunity to focus on installing lighting that increased wellness whilst saving energy, and we worked with lighting specialists, LEDRetail Lighting Solutions, to help create a range of moods or themes across different spaces within the gym.

Most gyms tend to keep lighting as straightforward as possible, sticking to standard overhead lighting that works with their budget. Not much attention is paid to the impact of light luminosity on wellbeing. However, lighting is extremely important, no matter the gym space, and is becoming an increasingly critical part of the design process.

With the introduction of LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient than traditional halogen bulbs, this has really opened-up a wealth of creative opportunities within a build project.

Graham Smith, MD, LEDRetail Lighting Solutions says:

‘Light produces heat and energy; combine that with a gym environment and it’s clear the need to reduce consumption is crucial. LED lights are now mainstream and are hugely energy-efficient. In fact, they can have up to 70% energy savings and a return on investment is expected within 18 months*.’

*Depending on the exact retrofit environment.

The lifespan of an LED bulb is significantly longer than traditional halogen lights. With halogen, a bulb could last between 1 month to a year and the warranty would reflect this. With LED you get 50,000 hours of light with a minimum of 5 years warranty with reputable manufacturers. LED not only significantly lowers costs, but also reduces recycling and landfill contributions.

LED mimics natural daylight to great effect. In fact, there are some lighting systems now that can replicate luminosity right down to where you live, such as a softer Mediterranean light to a ‘harsher’ northern European light.

Supersonic is a great example of this in action. There are different light sources for different spaces and different moods. The main gym area maximises as much natural daylight as possible with floor to ceiling windows, which seamlessly merges with the artificial light to ensure night and day workouts bring about the same sense of wellbeing.

Throughout spaces such as the spa and the recovery suite, lighting has been designed to calm and improve wellbeing. And, as LEDs are helping Supersonic reduce its carbon footprint, it has given the space more scope to experiment and really maximise light to increase their members’ overall fitness experience.

Recycling and re-use

Historically, gyms have been notorious for plastic consumption. From providing plastic cups at water stations, selling plastic water bottles and supplying plastic bags to store swim gear, it’s something the industry is keen to address.

Wherever possible, Supersonic has taken steps to eliminate as much plastic as possible from the gym. All members are given a sustainable gift pack when they join, which is made up of their own towel, sustainable Jute bag, a metal water bottle and a re-usable bag to store damp swimwear.

Continued Sadler:

‘The gym industry still has a way to go to become carbon neutral, but there are so many small changes we can start making now that can make a big difference. Supersonic is taking real and effective steps towards addressing this issue.’

Sourcing locally

The Supersonic café also makes sure it continues enhancing its green or eco credentials by sourcing all food locally.

York and its surrounding areas are known for producing a really diverse range of foods from vegetables and dairy produce right through to coffee and beer. Increasingly, more and more businesses are turning to locally sourced goods or produce to help grow the local economy. Supersonic is helping drive this growth by tapping into all the Yorkshire region has to offer.

Green wall and micro-climate

One very surprising find at Supersonic was connected with their green or living wall. The whole idea of such a wall is that they trap pollutants and purify the air.

The living wall at Supersonic is made-up of green moss and it is really thriving. So much so, it has created its own micro-climate and become a space that encourages plant growth. Supersonic’s plant company use the space to help restore and revive plants that are struggling.

At motive8, we know the fitness industry has got to make changes and be more sustainable. This isn’t an issue that’s going to go away, and why we work with all our clients to help them achieve that balance of cutting-edge fitness that doesn’t increase their carbon footprint.

Want to know more? Please get in touch on 020 8481 9700 /