Better Buildings Showcase: Life Time Chanhassen Athletic Club - Diversified Communications

Commercial, Energy Efficiency  -  October 24, 2022 - By Better Buildings

Better Buildings Showcase: Life Time Chanhassen Athletic Club

The Life Time Chanhassen, MN Athletic Club reduced energy use intensity by 35% and water use intensity by nearly 60% by implementing a range of energy and water efficiency improvements from 2011 to 2021. More than 10 years ago, Life Time embarked on a multi-faceted initiative to reduce its emissions impact on the environment, partnering with other companies that are likewise focused on sustainability while also prioritizing user experience.

Life Time Chanhassen is an athletic club located in Chanhassen, MN, adjacent to Life Time’s corporate headquarters. The 110,000-square-foot property includes an expansive fitness floor, a pool deck, indoor and outdoor pools, group fitness studios, basketball courts, pickleball courts, a rock wall, a spa, and a café.

In addition to being a fully-functioning athletic club, the property also serves as a testing facility for new technologies that Life Time, Inc. hopes to deploy at the rest of its clubs.

A wide range of projects has been implemented at Life Time’s Chanhassen club to improve energy and water efficiency. While the building’s square footage increased by more than 8% as the company added numerous amenities for members and expanded workout space, Life Time was still able to achieve a 35% energy reduction and 59% water reduction. 

The following electric, natural gas, and water efficiency measures have been implemented at Life Time Chanhassen:

Electric Projects

  • Lighting - lighting control and validation
  • Pool Pumps - yearly validation of variable frequency drives (VFDs)
  • Steam Boilers - ensure proactive maintenance is done and relay and buttons still work
  • HVAC - ensure motors are shut down during non-operational hours, ensure VFDs are engaged, ensure airflow is optimized, turn off power exhaust, and ensure compressors aren’t operating prematurely
  • Controls - quarterly updates of schedules and variance reporting on temperature, schedules, performance
  • Variable air volume (VAV) optimization
  • Steam rooms - upgraded controls

Natural Gas Projects

  • Outside Air - optimize rooftop units (RTUs) to run during occupied hours, including heating yoga studios overnight
  • Boilers - control boilers and setbacks
  • Dryers - ensure dryer optimization​
  • Hot water - ensure water only runs when in use (behavioral​ changes)
  • Reconnect control to locally-controlled spaces, such as yoga studios, so those units don’t heat overnight

Water Projects

  • Irrigation - optimize systems and execute proactive maintenance​
  • Showers - annually test and validate gallons per minute (GPM) flow rate through heads​
  • Laundry - ensure programming is validated​
  • Domestic/Pools - ensure no leaks or autofill issues with real-time metering

Due to the nature of Life Time’s business, extensive lighting throughout the building is required. By retrofitting all of the fixtures to LED, Life Time saved an average of 4-8 hours/week of maintenance and labor.

Additionally, during an energy audit of its Chanhassen, Minnesota location, the company determined that the men’s and women’s steam rooms constituted 13% of the peak load for the building since both steam rooms ran constantly.

To address this energy use, the Life Time energy manager tested two changes. First, to cut down on peak demand, a relay was installed between the men’s and women’s steam rooms so that they would not initiate the heating system at the same time. Next, to cut down on the run-time of the steam rooms, a start button and timer were installed so that the rooms only operate while occupied.

As a result of these two upgrades, Life Time reduced average peak demand by 25.5 kW for the Chanhassen club, saving $5,000 annually in electricity costs. Furthermore, the retrofit had two unexpected benefits:

  1. Better control of the steam and humidity in the area around the steam rooms.
  2. Reduced use of costly eucalyptus oil diffused while steam rooms are operating.

Life Time is implementing this steam room solution across its full portfolio of nearly 160 clubs and incorporating the changes into the design for new facilities.


This column originally appeared on the Better Buildings website.

Through DOE's Better Buildings Initiative, more than 900 commercial, public, industrial, and residential organizations share their proven energy efficiency strategies and inspire others to tap into the continued potential for energy efficiency. Collectively these organizations have saved 2.5 quadrillion Btus of energy, equivalent to $15.3 billion, and 155 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Partners have reduced their water use by 13.7 billion gallons. Together, partners represent more than 35 of the country's Fortune 100 companies, 10 of the top 25 U.S. employers, 14% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as more than 100 state and local governments spanning the nation. 

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