June 6, 2024

Why fitness clubs should pay attention to their electric bill

Inside a gym, you expect to see folks pushing their limits and working up a sweat. And if you think they’re working hard, you should see the workout the HVAC systems get. From the always-on air conditioning to keep patrons comfortable, to the whirling treadmills racking up miles and the bright lights of locker rooms and aerobics studios, gyms are major energy users. 

High electricity use makes sense when you think about it: most gyms are massive spaces with multiple comfort needs and lots of power requirements. The main fitness center may require different temperatures than a classroom, pool, or basketball court, all under the same roof. 

For fitness owners and operators, understanding the unique electricity usage patterns of their facilities is essential to identifying cost-saving opportunities. The good news for fitness clubs is that while they have demanding energy needs, they also have lots of levers to pull for savings. David Energy can help pull the right ones. 

Energy-efficient equipment and lighting

If you’re looking to cut costs, start with the things that are always on. For many clubs, that means lights and equipment. 

Most gyms are lit up all day, open to close. That’s a whole lot of electricity just to keep the lights on (not to mention if your facility happens to be one that’s open 24/7!). 

To stay energy-efficient, choose LED lighting systems. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs use up to 90 percent less energy and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. The lights may never turn off, but with some smart choices, they won’t need to in order to save you money. In fact, switching from incandescent or halogen bulbs to LEDs can save businesses up to 75% on maintenance expenses. Case studies have shown businesses saving as much as $11,000 over 10 years just by switching to LEDs over other, inefficient lighting options.

LED lighting systems offer significant advantages over other, less efficient lighting options.

When it comes to equipment, most gym members expect modern machines. And while you may not be thinking about energy efficiency, you should be! Many newer machines are designed with energy-saving features that reduce the amount of power they need to run, and lessen the passive electricity burn that happens when on standby. These can save hundreds of dollars per unit each year, amounting to significant savings over time. So if you’re considering upgrading your equipment, keep energy in mind. By investing in efficient equipment, fitness clubs can reduce overall energy consumption for lower utility bills and a more sustainable business.

HVAC optimization

In the gym, folks expect to work up a sweat when tackling a tough workout. But they definitely don’t want to be sweating because the cooling system isn’t keeping up. Customers expect to be comfortable in your gym, and aren’t concerned with what it might cost to achieve it. 

Luckily, creating a comfortable workout environment doesn’t have to be inefficient or expensive – but it can be if you have a poorly optimized HVAC system. One common mistake is running the air conditioning when the gym is empty, which can waste significant energy. Or focusing on individual spaces instead of the system as a whole, resulting in errors like inadvertently heating and cooling adjacent areas simultaneously. These types of problems can cause significant overuse of energy, driving up the costs of keeping your space comfortable.

Using smart thermostats can dramatically improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. These devices learn the club’s usage patterns and adjust the temperature accordingly, ensuring that the gym is only being heated or cooled when necessary. They can be programmed to account for varying class schedules and the needs of different rooms, and offer smart features that help make precise adjustments to keep your spaces comfortable without wasting energy. This smart management not only reduces energy consumption, but also extends the lifespan of the HVAC system by preventing overuse and unnecessary strain. 

Regular maintenance of the HVAC system is also crucial. Over time, filters can become clogged and parts can wear down, causing the system to work harder and use more energy. Routine inspections and timely servicing can prevent these problems, ensuring that the system operates at peak efficiency and avoids major issues. A broken HVAC system likely means downtime for your gym, and that can be even more costly than your energy bill. 

While it’s clear that optimizing your HVAC is important, it can be hard to keep tabs on the status and performance of your system from day to day. We can help with that. David Energy's unique software platform has a four-part approach that will get your HVAC running efficiently:

  • Flag potential issues: Our software can spot abnormal electricity consumption that may indicate HVAC problems. 
  • Track efficiency: The platform also tracks how efficiently heating and cooling systems reach and maintain setpoints. 
  • Set up standard operating procedures: We’ll help you set parameters that will allow your HVAC system to run within a predictable range that keeps costs down.
  • Auto-release: Our auto-release feature ensures that any manual adjustments made by staff during the day are reset automatically.

Peak demand management

When the gym is packed, your energy consumption can spike, too. If that happens during peak hours for your utility, you might see your energy costs skyrocket. Peak hours are the times of day when the demand for electricity is at its highest, and energy costs increase due to greater demand on the grid. Having high peak demand in your facility and can be a multiplier on your energy costs, and lead to higher electricity bills.

By reducing electricity use during these peak periods, gyms can avoid these inflated charges. Implementing automated operating procedures can help you save more during down periods and act more efficiently at your peak. Using monitoring and management software like David Energy can give you an overview of energy consumption across all your locations, identify facilities where peak demand is highest, and set unique parameters for each location.

With an included energy advisor for each business we serve, David Energy can help you identify and implement load-shifting strategies that help schedule energy-intensive activities during off-peak times, further reducing peak demand and associated costs. 

Sustainability and Branding

It’s obvious that health and wellness is a priority for the patrons of fitness clubs. Often, that extends beyond just themselves – many gym goers care about the planet, too. Going green can be a great way to appeal to prospective customers, making it clear that your business is invested in a positive, healthy future for everyone. 

When you decide to prioritize sustainability, addressing your electricity is a great place to start. Electricity is about more than just the power bill you get each month – the amount of energy you use has a big impact on your carbon footprint and overall efficiency. By focusing on reducing electricity consumption, gyms can achieve substantial cost savings while simultaneously decreasing their carbon emissions. That’s good for the planet and your bottom line.

How David Energy can help:

Just like a weight lifter going for a personal best, fitness centers with high energy costs could use a spotter to help them out. That is where David Energy comes in. We already work with leading brands like Crunch Fitness and Barry’s Bootcamp to deliver optimal energy solutions, and we can do the same for your gym so you can ensure someone is always looking out for you when it comes to electricity. 

Here's how we can assist:

  • Suitable Energy Plans: We provide electricity plans tailored to the specific needs of fitness clubs, based on our extensive experience in the space and your club’s specific needs.
  • Advanced Energy Management: Our platform delivers real-time insights into electricity usage, enabling fitness clubs to pinpoint inefficiencies and optimize their consumption patterns. This data-driven approach helps to maximize energy savings and operational efficiency.
  • Demand Response Programs: Fitness clubs can participate in demand response programs through David Energy, reducing peak demand and earning financial incentives. This not only lowers energy costs but also supports grid stability.
  • Energy Advice: Our team of experts offers personalized guidance to help fitness clubs find the best rates and implement custom recommendations for scheduling and efficiency practices. This expert advice is crucial for achieving long-term savings and maintaining a sustainable operation.

By leveraging these services, fitness centers can significantly enhance their energy efficiency, reduce costs, and align with sustainability goals.

Interested in seeing what kind of impact David Energy could have for your business? Book a meeting with our team here to get started on improving your energy.

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