Going to the spa is a luxury in itself. Customers commit to taking a break from reality and trek to these businesses to be pampered. Despite its appeal to wellness, it is a $180 billion industry that serves as an indoor amusement park, Atlantic Cities contributor Bonnie Tsui explains.
“Your average neighborhood day spa can generate a huge waste stream: towels and robes need to be laundered, hot and cold plunge pools need to be refilled, not to mention the energy required for the upkeep of temperature-appropriate treatment rooms and atmospheric landscaping that telegraphs ‘natural’ and ‘relaxing,'” Tsui writes.
One entrepreneur, Nell Waters, is working on designing a spa that would consume less water and energy than most other spas, using solar energy to heat the soaking tubs and filter out minerals from the rainwater it collects. While the project is still in the early stages, Waters’ bathhouse SOAK has raised more than $23,000 out of the $240,000 it hopes to achieve to begin operations.
“SOAK is designed to be less opulent than its predecessors,” according to the Kickstarter campaign. “The framework for our modern idea is repurposed shipping containers designed to have solar panels on top, a rainwater catchment and filtration system, and a gray water garden on our back patio, all without sacrificing style.”
For example, solar panels are expected to save the bathhouse more than 199,000 BTUs of energy, while over 233,000 gallons of water will find its way to be filtered and reused.
As for those salt scrubs or facials full of soaps and ingredients that may harm the environment once they become runoff, those treatments will not be available at SOAK. Its offerings will consist of a sauna, hot pool, and other amenities that rely on the idea that customers can briefly unwind and get back to their day.
Waters’ vision is ambitious, but was inspired by this project after opening her first business Whole Body Tonic in San Francisco.
Aspiring startups that want the resources to implement their own green recycling initiatives may want to consider a more cost-effective alternative. Purchasing lightly-used, quality office furnishings is a great way to reinforce an environmentally conscious mindset while easing the pressure on administration budgets.