We recently sat down with the Founders of the Castle Hill Green Team, Vlad Glouchkov (our Business Manager) and Amy Rogers (our Marketing + Programs Manager). We asked each of them the same six questions. Below you will find Vlad’s answers in blue
and Amy’s in black.
Q: Why do you think it is important to pursue Green projects, for Castle Hill?
V: We, as human beings, have a huge impact on our environment. As an individual, I can only do so much, but as a popular local business with thousands of regular customers, Castle Hill can do so much more. Hopefully, what we do as a business, can motivate our clients and other businesses to do the same. One of our foundational values is Sustainable Business Practice – We recognize our impact on the environment and continuously look for ways to reduce our footprint. This is big part of who we are.
As a fitness club we are in the business of providing, educating, and empowering our clients to find their own journey to improved personal health and wellness. This includes the environment we live in and thusly is what inspires Castle Hill as a business to take action towards sustainable practices. We consider ourselves a leader in an industry where green(er) practices are not really in the limelight.
Q: What is the story behind the Green Team?
V: In 2012, one of our members recommended that we look into Austin Green Business Leaders program that was just created by Office of Sustainability
). After reviewing the program and its requirements we joined at the Gold level. One of the program requirements was for us to have a Green Team, so one was formed and currently we have 11 members in our team consisting of employees and gym members.
The official formulation of the Green Team was established as part of the requirements to become recognized as a Green Business Leader in Austin, TX. But the birth of instilling such a mindset was really conceived from our founder, Paolo Minissi
. An avid exerciser, Paolo was a Physicist by formal education and former president of an energy efficient lighting company that was national recognized for innovative design and energy savings in the 80s and 90s. It was bred in the spirit of our community to find ways to minimize negative environmental impact.
Q: Which projects are you most proud of?
V: Our most recent improvement was the upgrade of our faucets and shower heads. We convinced our owner and management team to spend little over $5,000 to replace old inefficient faucets in our locker rooms with solar-powered touch-free faucets
) and replace old shower heads with more efficient ones.
V: We also began composting at our cafe in January.
A: The most recent project I was involved in was the replacement of all of our standard faucets with solar powered automatic ones. This combined with the replacement of reduce flow shower-heads helped us to reduce our water use by 9500 gallons a month. A past project that I’m proud of is when we switched our water heaters from the traditional tank versions that were very inefficient with a system of tankless Navien water heaters. This project was ahead of its time 10 years ago when it was upgraded and I love how they work so much that I installed one like it in my own home.
Our recent faucets/shower heads upgrade reduced our water use by about 8%. This may not seem like a huge amount, but in our environment, that equates to 115,000 gallons per year of saved water.
Adding a canopy to the Outdoor Studio has added much utility to the space in summer months.
Q: How do you measure a successful green project?
V: Seeing direct results is the best indicator of how successful our initiatives are. For instance, our faucets/shower heads upgrade has reduced our water use by about 8%, this may not seem like a huge amount, but in our environment, that equates to 115,000 gallons per year of saved water. With the start of composting, we were able to reduce our garbage pickup from 4 days per week to just 3. Also hearing positive feedback from our members about our initiatives is a great motivator.
Seeing the drop in our utility bill is a definite success in my book
Q: What are the long term goals and projects you want to see the Castle take on?
V: Long-term I would love to see if we can find a way to install solar panels around the property to reduce our electricity usage. We need to upgrade our washer and dryer. It be great to reduce our CO2 emissions to zero.
We would love to see solar panel shade structures in the future.
Q: What can we expect to see happen around Castle Hill in the next year?
V: We are currently looking for ways to integrate composting into gym operations. We want to upgrade the lights around the gym to LED. We are also looking for ways to reduce the amount of paper we use in the business as well as to make our recycling more efficient. We are planning to offer educational workshops to our staff and members covering topics such as composting, water conservation, electricity conservation.
A: We are currently finding ways to introduce composting to our gym facility – mostly paper towels.
Keep up to date with our Green Team by booking marking this link