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Fit for the Future

Les Mills New Zealand's newest club, in Christchurch, epitomizes their commitment to developing gyms that offer passion and personality. They also aimed to set a new standard in sustainability.

Starting as they meant to continue with this lofty sustainability goal, 97 per cent of the demolished old gym building was recycled. And while all Les Mills gyms have environmentally sustainable design (ESD) features, the Christchurch club is the first to be purpose built, targeting an impressive 40 per cent lower water and energy consumption than existing Les Mills gyms.

For Les Mills New Zealand, fitness is very much a sustainability issue, says chief executive Reece Zondag.

This is a message that has been taken internationally by Les Mills New Zealand Principal Phillip Mills and his wife Jackie, who are passionate about the relationship between personal fitness, national health systems and global sustainability - so much so that they authored a book on the issue, Fighting Globesity, in 2007.

"All of us at Les Mills are behind that message," Reece says. "We believe fit people cost less to run. And to tell that story with integrity, it's not only about giving people the inspiration and opportunity to look after themselves so that they become less of a burden on areas like health care, but to also look at what we do in our buildings that is green."

That encapsulates everything from recycling bins and bicycle stands, to the latest ESD features found in the Christchurch club. These include a façade that maximises thermal and acoustic performance, large areas of glazing to reduce the use of artificial lighting, high efficiency heat pumps, heat exchangers that utilise waste water from showers to pre-heat hot water, and water efficient plumbing fittings.

Meanwhile, attractions such as top-of-the-line equipment, beautiful changing suites complete with TVs, irons, hair dryers and straighteners, saunas, an impressive cardio cinema, two group fitness studios with state-of-the-art theatre lighting and a fully licensed early childhood education centre add to the promise of a unique exercise experience.

For The Building Intelligence Group, delivering the Les Mills vision for Christchurch has been a rewarding opportunity to build on and take advantage of experience gained through a partnership that involves nationwide projects, including the Auckland Club, Lower Hutt Club, and the new 'temporary' premises in Christchurch City that provided continuity of services while the new gym was being constructed.

"It has been fantastic to be involved in creating such an excellent facility for Christchurch," says senior project manager Melanie Briasco. "We really enjoy the passion with which Les Mills provide an exercise experience beyond the ordinary, and the challenge of delivering buildings that are an integral part of that."

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