Complexions Spa was founded in 1987 with a focus on professional skin care and make-up, with one employee working in 1,200 square feet. Steady growth has led to 38 employees and an expansion in the number and type of services offered. The emphasis moved from "pampering" to looking closely at the wellness aspects of treatments. Now Medi-Spa services such as laser, micro dermabrasion and IPL photo rejuvenation are offered. Facials, massages, rituals of touch, detoxification, relaxation and purification body rituals are available, plus the more traditional manicures, pedicures, hair styling and a new barber spa to bring back the golden age of gentleman's grooming. Patrons also have free access to the sauna, aromatherapy steam room and deluge shower.
Denise Dubois, owner and president, decided that expansion into an 8,500 square-foot facility should also take the environment's wellness into account. The goal of converting a former fabric store needed to insure that Complexions had an eco-friendly carbon footprint. Complexions turned to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for recommendations on how to reduce energy consumption and the carbon footprint of the building. NYSERDA also provided incentives to offset costs of some of the efforts. Taitem Engineering of Ithaca, NY was the technical assistant on the project.
"The ENERGY STAR website also proved fruitful in this 'green' undertaking," says Ms. Dubois. "The user friendly information helped us research and choose appliances, get information on lighting choices and we used the Fast Facts section for our printed materials and marketing facts."
High-efficiency, double-pane, low-e, argon-filled windows were used in a sunroom addition added to the original building. The windows have a lower solar heat gain factor and low thermal transmittance. High-efficiency, roof-top cooling units with a cooling Energy Efficiency Ratio of 12.5 and an annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of 82% were installed. The equipment is ENERGY STAR qualified. Complexions complements its sustainable building practices by purchasing only energy generated by renewable resources such as wind and hydro.
In making decisions on new appliances including a refrigerator, washers and dryers, and domestic hot water heaters the ENERGY STAR and energy-efficiency were the first requirement.
The restrooms, locker rooms, and hair salon at the day spa need specific amounts of air to be exhausted and replaced with fresh outdoor air, as required by local and state codes. Complexions has added an energy recovery ventilator to recapture the energy of the exhaust air. This helps reduce the amount of energy needed to heat or cool the outdoor air to the desired space conditions. Energy demand was further reduced by installing high-efficiency lighting and lighting controls. The lighting design has reduced the overall watts to 0.4 watts per square foot, plus many of the work rooms have light sensors to save more energy.
New clients at the spa receive a "getting green fact sheet" and the current clientele of nearly 2,500 patrons per month are kept informed of energy saving efforts. ENERGY STAR posters are used in employee areas to encourage energy efficiency. The "Going Green" section of the Complexions website includes a link to ENERGY STAR to provide visitors with additional information. In addition, guests are encouraged to be more earth-friendly with discounts on retail products when they buy a reusable organic shopping bag. VIP parking is available for guests who drive a hybrid car and parking spaces for bikes are available.
Complexions Spa estimates that it is saving more than $10,000 annually with its energy-efficient measures. The greenhouse gas savings are estimated at 56 tons annually, the equivalent of the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly seven homes.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)
Tony Mantello, Jr., Consulting Engineer
Naomi Miller Lighting Design
Woodward, Connor Gillies and Selemen Architects
A. Mantello Construction Services, Inc.
VBC Lighting, LLC
Science Application International Corp.
Ms. Denise Dubois, Owner/President
221 Wolf Road
Albany, NY 12205