In 2008 the journey to create our own day spa, concept store, training facility and head office began. Uspa immersion opened in July 2009. This was an ideal time for us to ensure the renovation of our building was aligned with our sustainable principles.
With the renovation we made a conscious decision to recycle as much as possible from the original building. In re-using what we had we reduced the footprint that occurs naturally with using new materials, as well as reducing landfill from a remodel and the waste it can create. Plaster was patched rather than refitted. We re-used the skirting boards and cornices. The existing staircase was patched up and given a new lease on life with a wrought iron handrail designed by a local Victorian artisan. This handrail creates a centrepiece for the building incorporating the branch elements that you will find in the packaging design for our men's range.
All timbers used at Uspa Immersion are FSC (forest steward council) certified. Recycled Tallow Wood was utilized through the lower building, the wall units are spotted gum, and we gently refurbished the Kauri pine flooring in the upstairs treatment rooms. Iron bark covers the spa reception area and spotted gum makes up the outside deck area.
For more information visit http://www.fsc.org
While dismantling some of the internal brick walls, we chose to reuse these bricks in other areas of the building that needed updating and within the fireplaces that are throughout the building. This decision alone heavily reduced what would have been sent to landfill. The carpet chosen for the upstairs spa is soft natural un-dyed Alpaca fleece. This carpet also has fabulous thermal and acoustic properties. The rugs we chose are felt.
Much of the furniture throughout the building is repurposed or "up-cycled". In giving a new life to beautifully handcrafted old pieces we reduce the need for something new. One particular chair selected for client relaxation maintains the GECA (Good Environmental Choice award) certification.
Insulation was maintained through the building to reduce heat and cooling loss. The traditional awning protects the front windows from intense heat in summer reducing the possibility of the downstairs retail area over heating.
Our reverse cycle air-conditioning unit is set to an optimal 22-24oC during the day only when required.
Lighting fixtures utilise much of the energy within a typical building. We have chosen energy efficient down lighting and T5 fluorescent lamps. In the front treatment rooms hanging lights made using the cocoons from silk worms create subtle sprinkled light. Lighting is kept to a minimum where possible. Natural light floods the front downstairs retail area, our back office and the upstairs reception area. We have maintained skylights in 2 treatment rooms to harness the wonders of the sun.
We subscribe to green energy for our electricity needs to support 100% renewable energy principles.
Water was a big concern for us. As we are all very much aware in Australia water is a very precious commodity. We were concerned about how we could reduce our water consumption at the spa whilst still providing a truly wonderful spa experience.
We installed a 4,000 litre water tank that collects water from the buildings roof and this is what we use to flush our toilets with. Currently this means we are saving approximately 28,080 litres of water a year. We educate our clients on 3-4 mins showers and because our products are not harmful to the environment we can even use left over spa or bath water for our rooftop garden.
Taps and showerheads were chosen for their reduced water flow qualities. To heat the spa's water we chose a heat pump system. This is like a solar water heater without collector panels. In fact it operates like a refrigerator only in reverse; transferring the heat in the surrounding air to the stored water.
The Heat Pump's use of refrigeration technology makes it extremely energy efficient - using approximately one third the energy of a conventional electric water heater.
Easy division of recycled, rubbish and food is important. This ensures our waste is directed into exactly the right collecting streams.