Environmental principles guided many of the decisions made when the owners of Flourish Vitality Centre in Barrie set out to create a welcoming, comfortable wellness studio. Studio visitors can access yoga, and other holistic services knowing that the studio is decorated, and cared for, in a way that considers the environment.
Critical to visitor comfort is a stable room temperature. Sharing a thermostat with the unit below posed some challenges. As a result, Flourish owners put certain measures in place to ensure they could adequately control the temperature within their own units. Heat-reflecting film is installed on all the windows and is so effective, it has eliminated the need for extra air-conditioning. Window covering and drapes are all backed to retain hot or cool air inside the building and they are closed and opened as needed to control the temperature. The use of small electric fireplaces and heaters add to the ambiance in the rooms, while also contributing to an even temperature. They are only used when needed, which reduces energy consumption and costs.
Lighting and décor is important to create the mood in any room. At Flourish, all outdated CFL bulbs have been replaced with LED’s that mimic natural light. Of course, with many windows located around the studio, electric lighting is only used when natural light doesn’t meet the needs of users. Wall sconces and dimmer switches are used not only to create a relaxing environment, but also to conserve energy. Flourish is taking a closer look at phantom energy loads in the studio—something which can reduce energy bills without impacting the performance of appliances.
The bright, airy décor makes use of re-purposed items when available—something that represents both an economical and environmentally-beneficial choice. Yoga mats are cleaned with vinegar, water and essential oils. Lemongrass and tea tree oil provide a combination of antiseptic and aromatic properties. Cleaning cloths are washable and therefore reused. Low VOC paints are used on the walls.
Food is an essential component of any welcoming environment. Flourish provides reusable plates and glasses for events. Compostable cutlery is purchased when larger groups need to be accommodated. Water from the cooler is always chilled, so visitors can bring refillable water bottles. If waste is generated, it can be easily separated at the convenient recycling station used to separate organics, recycling and garbage. Fair trade chocolate can be purchased at the front of the studio.
About The Author – Aileen MacMillan holds an Honours Bachelor of Environmental Studies degree from the University of Waterloo, and has worked as an independent consultant on environmental projects related to waste management, water quality protection, and environmental education. She has many years of experience working in small business and working collaboratively with teams and individual stakeholders.