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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Editor's letter: Energy crisis

The sharp increase in energy prices has left some operators reeling, but there’s reason to be optimistic if we can learn from other sectors, while moving to a low carbon future

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 5
The sector must learn from other markets / Photo: Syda Productions/shutterstock
The sector must learn from other markets / Photo: Syda Productions/shutterstock
Some supermarket operators transact with energy suppliers, turning off freezers for short periods in exchange for rebates

Soaring prices are focusing attention on energy security and sustainability and on page 46, we debate the issues as they relate to our sector with industry operators and energy experts.

We’re hearing talk of parents putting their children in wetsuits for swimming lessons, as operators cool pools, but it’s not yet clear if the savings made will exceed the business lost from customers who can’t tolerate a chilly swim – for even the best reasons.

The big picture is that until renewables and locally generated power dominate, we’ll be at the mercy of the global market for carbon-based power.

Counter-intuitively, even though going carbon neutral helps the planet, it isn’t a solution to energy price increases, as sustainably-generated power is currently up to six times more expensive than fossil fuels, putting the environment and business on a collision course.

We need bold, coordinated and tactical solutions and this will require us to explore other sectors to better understand how they manage and control their energy costs, as the health and fitness industry has been slow to invest in energy-saving tech and expertise.

Some supermarket operators, for example, transact directly with energy suppliers, agreeing to turn off all their freezers nationally for short periods during times of peak demand [within HSE guidelines] in return for cash – not only securing additional payments, but also saving energy in the process.

Imagine if pool operators coordinated joint negotiations to the point where they could also strike these kinds of deals for turning pool plant off for short windows of time during periods of peak energy demand? This could be one piece of the jigsaw in keeping facilities viable, while also saving carbon emissions.

We need more ideas and information such as this to enable us to find ways forward. Simply asking the government for money in the form of subsidies – as the sector is currently doing – is an obvious and well-worn step, but unlikely to be sustainable in the longer term, even if it yields short-term success.

Smart operators are looking for robust long-term solutions, investing in building management systems, Passivhaus facilities, and local power generation while aiming to cut every scrap of unneeded energy usage through best management practice.

It’s estimated that if all UK leisure centre operators cut their energy usage by only 10 per cent, for example, this part of the sector would save upwards of £70m a year, giving an idea of the scale of the opportunity.

It’s a shame it’s taken an energy crisis to set us on this path, but exciting to be heading for a lower-carbon future.

Liz Terry, editor
[email protected]

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2022/291066_671139.jpg
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features

Editor's letter: Energy crisis

The sharp increase in energy prices has left some operators reeling, but there’s reason to be optimistic if we can learn from other sectors, while moving to a low carbon future

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 5
The sector must learn from other markets / Photo: Syda Productions/shutterstock
The sector must learn from other markets / Photo: Syda Productions/shutterstock
Some supermarket operators transact with energy suppliers, turning off freezers for short periods in exchange for rebates

Soaring prices are focusing attention on energy security and sustainability and on page 46, we debate the issues as they relate to our sector with industry operators and energy experts.

We’re hearing talk of parents putting their children in wetsuits for swimming lessons, as operators cool pools, but it’s not yet clear if the savings made will exceed the business lost from customers who can’t tolerate a chilly swim – for even the best reasons.

The big picture is that until renewables and locally generated power dominate, we’ll be at the mercy of the global market for carbon-based power.

Counter-intuitively, even though going carbon neutral helps the planet, it isn’t a solution to energy price increases, as sustainably-generated power is currently up to six times more expensive than fossil fuels, putting the environment and business on a collision course.

We need bold, coordinated and tactical solutions and this will require us to explore other sectors to better understand how they manage and control their energy costs, as the health and fitness industry has been slow to invest in energy-saving tech and expertise.

Some supermarket operators, for example, transact directly with energy suppliers, agreeing to turn off all their freezers nationally for short periods during times of peak demand [within HSE guidelines] in return for cash – not only securing additional payments, but also saving energy in the process.

Imagine if pool operators coordinated joint negotiations to the point where they could also strike these kinds of deals for turning pool plant off for short windows of time during periods of peak energy demand? This could be one piece of the jigsaw in keeping facilities viable, while also saving carbon emissions.

We need more ideas and information such as this to enable us to find ways forward. Simply asking the government for money in the form of subsidies – as the sector is currently doing – is an obvious and well-worn step, but unlikely to be sustainable in the longer term, even if it yields short-term success.

Smart operators are looking for robust long-term solutions, investing in building management systems, Passivhaus facilities, and local power generation while aiming to cut every scrap of unneeded energy usage through best management practice.

It’s estimated that if all UK leisure centre operators cut their energy usage by only 10 per cent, for example, this part of the sector would save upwards of £70m a year, giving an idea of the scale of the opportunity.

It’s a shame it’s taken an energy crisis to set us on this path, but exciting to be heading for a lower-carbon future.

Liz Terry, editor
[email protected]

https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2022/291066_671139.jpg
The energy market is complex and fast moving. The industry needs to unite to find smart ways to keep costs under control
Latest News
Mark Sesnan, CEO of GLL, has pushed back on Tower Hamlet Council’s decision to take ...
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Ohm Fitness, a new franchised studio concept, has opened its first location in Scottsdale, Arizona. ...
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Easton Leisure Centre in the UK has announced a 100 per cent reduction in heating ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: EGYM: A digital ecosystem that works for everyone
EGYM has been pioneering the connected gym floor for more than a decade, partnering with operators and other third-party integrations, to create a free-flowing training environment that places the member at the very centre of the experience.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Parkwood Leisure celebrates four award wins and named Outstanding Organisation of the Year at the 2022 ukactive Awards
It was a night to remember at the 2022 ukactive Awards for Parkwood Leisure, as the leisure facilities operator picked up four awards.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
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Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
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Company profile: InBody UK
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Company profile: GANTNER
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Click on a catalogue to view it online
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Everyone Active has got the New Year off to a flying start as it begins work on the brand new Rainham Leisure Centre.
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Whole body cryotherapy
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Spa software
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Architects/designers
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Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
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Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
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12-13 Sep 2022
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Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
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25-28 Oct 2022
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Diary dates
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tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
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