Feature Article - September 2012
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Maintenance & Operations: Fitness Facilities

Green in the Gym

By Tammy York


Active Design

Don't overlook the health of your staff when you are designing the gymnasium. "One of the most recent active design initiatives is determining how to encourage people to get up and move around," Frontera said. "Interconnecting stairs within the space rather than taking the elevator; activities zones, such as a stretching station, that encourages people to take a break, move, stretch and increase the blood flow; and walking meetings using pre-defined mileage maps around office parks are all ways to incorporate active design."

Active Design is one of the key components to The Putney School Field House. "The idea was to integrate the field house near the dining hall to get kids exercising after they eat," Maclay said. "The mission of the building in health and exercise and the location and design entices the kids to be active rather than forcing it on them."

Other ways of increasing the health of the users is having desks that people can stand at rather than sit, an exercise ball to sit on instead of a chair or a walking desk, which is a treadmill and desk combination.

Planning Ahead

"A simple 10-degree change in the direction the building is oriented can save on the energy consumption," Thomas said. "It doesn't cost any more to build it that way, it is just smart design."

"When you are applying for LEED, overshoot the amounts you are seeking because there might be some you are trying to get, but you simply can't because of the schedule," Frontera said. "Adding a little cushion with the amount of credits you are aiming for will help you out."

With new buildings in the design phase, it is important to think about all the things that you might want to do in the future and make sure that the elements for those components are put in place when construction begins.