The conversation around health and wellness shouldn’t focus solely on mental and physical well being. It’s so much bigger and more connected. So businesses in this industry have a responsibility to address their environmental, social, and economic impacts.
So what about Sauna House, your new favorite hang out? Well, no one is perfect, and we certainly don’t claim to be, but we’re trying. Let’s spare the greenwashing schtick, I want to be honest with you about what we’re doing, where we’re going, and where we fall short.
I for one, love it. Don’t believe me, check my transcripts. But the cold hard truth is that spas use a lot of resources. We have a cold pool that holds over 400 gallons of water, 5 showers, heated furniture and a sauna with 2, 12 kilowatt electric heaters. That’s a lot of power and water. Adding solar energy to our building is in the cards, shooting for 2020 which will offset that consumption, but there isn’t a date set in stone.
In the meantime, we look for ways everyday to be a little more sustainable. All of our shower heads are low flow to reduce water use. There is no single use plastic in our facility, only compostables, which are picked up weekly and processed at a local, commercial composting facility. We have small cotton hand towels in the bathrooms to avoid paper towel waste or electric hand dryers, and all of our cleaning products are organic. Our landscaping is cared for by Clean Air Lawn Care. This company uses organic treatments and clean solar powered equipment to keep Sauna House neat and tidy without dumping harmful chemicals into the ground or emitting noxious gas fumes into the atmosphere.
I know these practices may seem like just a drop in the bucket when you think of the crisis at hand with rising global temperatures and trash islands floating out in the ocean. However, we believe that if every business and household made these same changes, the impact would be huge. Hopefully we can set an example for what’s possible and eventually for what will be expected from all of us in the near future.
We support and promote companies with similar core values, who use business as a means for good. Our shower products both come from Certified B Corporation companies, EO Products and Dr. Bronners. For those who aren’t familiar with B Corp standards, I’ll give you the highlights. They believe that you should conduct business with regards to people and place, not just profits. That business should not only do no harm, but benefit everyone by reducing inequalities, creating jobs, and working towards a healthier environment. The transparency and accountability required to become a Certified B Corporation isn’t a walk in the park, but these companies are committed to ethical business practices, and we aim to do the same.
Our Local Community and Economy:
I’m sure you’ve noticed that Asheville is going through a little bit of a growth spurt. Every road is under construction, housing projects are popping up all over, and there’s a new brewery every week. As a local business, we benefit from a strong local economy, so it’s in our best interest to contribute to it. Within the first month of operation, we became Certified Living Wage. Providing employment opportunities in the community that allows individuals to keep up with a competitive housing market is something we’re very proud of. Along with unlimited access to the bathhouse, our team also has the option of monthly massage or a gym membership. We believe that healthy social activities foster good relationships and encourage healthier habits outside of Sauna House.
We also offer a reduced rate on bathhouse visits to locals to make hot cold therapy more accessible to everyone, and have recently initiated a Corporate Wellness Program. This allows local businesses an opportunity to provide a wellness package to their employees at a lower cost. We believe that investing in the local workforce is one of the most effective ways to create a happier, healthier, more productive community.
As we continue to grow and expand, we’re looking for opportunities to give more, not take. It’s only been a few months, and so much has changed. Our operating systems, hours, prices, staffing, hopes, dreams, basement space, I could go on and on. However, the constant has been our commitment to do right by our team, community, and planet and we plan to keep that promise.