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Many industry professionals hold the misguided belief that sustainability efforts are a costly “all or nothing” initiative. For some, “sustainability” implies funneling club capital into fancy heating controls, NASA-grade air filtration systems, and pricey energy-efficient appliances. But you don’t have to explode your budget or go “off the grid” to be sustainable. In fact, there are many simple, environmentally-friendly measures your club can utilize to lower operational costs – and boost the bottom line!
On average, lighting accounts for roughly 18% of typical utility costs. The best part about reevaluating the way you light your club is that you can spend as much or as little as you want and still help the bottom line. Most are aware that simply buying energy efficient light bulbs – like halogen incandescents, CFLs, or LEDs – can reduce operating costs, but fear compromising the soft lighting of their club interiors with harsh energy-saving fixtures. In recent years, energy-efficient lighting has become much more sophisticated, providing a softer ambiance that goes far beyond the cold blue LEDs of yesteryear. But rethinking club lighting goes beyond fixtures. When it comes time to renovating certain spaces or build new ones, focus on designs that maximize natural light and diminish the need for artificial lighting during the day. Aside from saving a few dollars, incorporating more natural light into a space can boost mood, increase energy levels, lessen eye strain, and more!
Jumping on the farm-to-table trend isn’t just good for boosting F&B sales… it’s also a great way to go green! Offering local, seasonal produce lowers the amount of fuel used to ship the food and reduces the amount of energy that goes into processing, all while avoiding produce that has been subjected to pesticides. Some clubs use their extra property to create gardens and raise their own animals, such as bees and chickens. Allowing your members to see exactly where their food is coming from really brings home the “wow” factor, all while highlighting the quality and freshness of your club’s food offerings. Having on-site gardens can also provide a value proposition outside of the F&B Department, creating possibilities for family events or activity groups. Don’t have space to spare for a garden? No problem! Check out your local farmer’s market, family farm, or community garden!
Water usage at private clubs has been a hot topic in the industry, particularly among golf clubs. While using recycled water and smart irrigation tactics on the golf course can be a huge money saver, it also requires a large investment upfront. But not every water-saving tactic is pricey! Motion-detect faucets and low flow fixtures and toilets can conserve at a modest cost. Implementing water-saving strategies and fixtures can reduce a club’s water usage by up to a third – along with the utility bill that comes with it. The returns can be particularly impressive for clubs located in areas chronically stricken by drought.
There are always reasons to put off things that should be done – routine maintenance being no exception. But inefficient facility maintenance and upkeep can be a killer for the environment – and your club’s capital funds. When your systems aren’t running efficiently, you’re unwittingly adding extra zeros to your operational costs. The solution? Develop a thoughtful maintenance plan repairs system issues quickly. Conduct regular audits of the HVAC system and other operational components to ensure that they are performing at optimum levels. For more information about preventative maintenance practices, check out our article from Club Road Issue 13.
The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) offers many useful, in-depth resources about club sustainability, such as the Golf Sustainability Manual …and more!