Our latest edition of RIDE HIGH includes a must-read supplement – A Global Crisis? – in which we speak to operators across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Americas to understand the region-by-region challenges facing the fitness sector at the moment, and the strategies that might be deployed to navigate them.
Check out all our expert comments here or download a PDF of the full magazine, including the supplement, above.
Here, we share the perspective of Michal Homola, founder of Terra Hale in the UK. Interview conducted 13 October 2022.
It’s true that the current energy crisis is impacting everyone. However, our lower energy usage means we are less affected than others.
Ours is a group of three – soon to be four – personal training and body transformation studios in London, UK, where everything revolves around being eco-friendly. And I mean everything, from plants in our studios for oxygen to exploring ways to minimise our carbon footprint. For example, as we look to expand overseas, we want to minimise how much equipment we need to import, so we’re experimenting with gathering plastic waste and using it to 3D print the equipment we need. In the process, we’ll also help clean up the locations where we want to build. It’s a win-win.
We teach our customers to be more eco-friendly in their lives, too, from giving them bamboo toothbrushes to educating them on eliminating the big users of electricity from their lives.
We’ve certainly done that in our clubs. Our lighting is the most energy-efficient LED lighting you can get, and we’ve kept the set-up pretty simple. There’s nothing flashing, nothing fancy, and at any point in time, we only have the lights on in rooms that need to be lit. The same applies outside: the lighting in our external signage is only switched on at night.
“We define ‘warm enough’ differently from most. Even when it’s cold outside, we focus on getting our clients warm through exercise”
It’s similar with heating. We have no boiler at all – just electric panels in the ceiling that heat up really quickly. As soon as the room is warm enough, we turn them off. And we define ‘warm enough’ differently from most. Even when it’s cold outside, we focus on getting our clients warm through exercise rather than having the room really warm when they come in. That’s not to say we make it uncomfortable for people, not at all, but our rooms are always a bit below your typical room temperature. We soon get them – and the people in them – warm through working out!
Other than that, all we have plugged in are a music speaker and a coffee machine. We don’t provide towels for our customers so we don’t have to wash them – that’s a very power-intensive process. Neither do we have steamrooms or saunas. And while we do offer showers, only around 10 per cent of our members use them. They’re also electric showers, so we’re only heating the exact amount of water we need.
We use clean energy – wind, solar and hydro power – via our renewable energy providers, and none of our equipment is powered. Our rowers use water resistance, our treadmills are self-powered and our bikes actually generate electricity that we sell back to the grid. It isn’t enough to live on or run the business on, but compare that to having to power plugged-in bikes and treadmills and it isn’t hard to see which is the most sustainable.
I know this might all sound like small details, but it really does add up. I would estimate that we use around 80 per cent less energy than the typical gym, in spite of being open from 5.00am to 10.00pm.
Conceived, powered and funded by BODY BIKE®, RIDE HIGH has a simple mission: to celebrate and champion the very best of indoor cycling, sharing ideas, stories and experiences from around the world to inspire the sector on to even bigger and better things. Subscribe for free by leaving your details below and we'll send indoor cycling's hottest news direct to your inbox three times a year.