Whether you’re thinking about building your dream home, converting your garage into a home gym, or wanting to completely remodel your current gym, there are a variety of things you can do to make your home gym more environmentally friendly. Not only will you be lowering your monthly utility bills like other rooms of your home, by using more eco-friendly products, you’ll be helping the planet. Here are a few things you can do.
Deciding on the type of floor to have for your gym is one of the most important steps. You want something with cushioning, easy to cleanup and low maintenance, and durable. Fortunately, there are a variety of options from recycled or reused rubber flooring to recycled, commercial grade carpeting. Newer renewable resources such as cork and bamboo are also becoming more popular these days (some ideas here). When choosing the type of flooring to use, keep in mind where the flooring is manufactured. While one product that’s manufactured in New York may be considered “green” to someone living in the Northeast, you would be better off purchasing something more locally manufactured if living in Southern California.
Obviously, gym equipment places a large burden on natural resources during production and even energy usage during use for certain types of equipment (ie: treadmills). Whether you purchase a heavy duty elliptical for cardio or an inversion table or other products to help your lower back pain, try to stick with companies who are environmentally conscious in their manufacturing process and offer energy efficient equipment that require electricity. Life Fitness is a good example of a company that does things the right way. While not for everyone, an all-in-one unit such as a Bowflex is great for both the environment and for those who don’t have a lot of space in their gym room. More equipment is not always better.
Having good lighting in your home gym is a necessity. Nobody wants to workout in a dimly lit room. In short, LIGHT = ENERGY. Asking anyone from the Pacific NW and they’ll agree. Since natural light is the best and cheapest form of lighting for a gym, consider having lots of windows if in the home building phase or even add a window or two to your garage if doing a conversion. The next best form of lighting is fluorescent which most closely emulates sunlight. Go with bulbs that have a high color temperature in the 5000K to 5500K range if possible. Recessed lighting is generally not recommended for home gyms due to their tendency to cause a lot of glare, especially if lying down (ie: bench pressing).
Finally, and this applies to all cleaning supplies in your home, look for products which contain a Green Seal or EcoLogo on the bottle/container. This way you’ll know they’ll meet most common environmental standards. Steer clear of any cleaners with the word hazardous, danger, or warning on the bottle (which includes most of the popular cleaning products out there). Use of environmentally friendly supplies will help reduce toxins in your home gym and keep kids and pets at home much safer.