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A Franchisee Gym Pumps up Profits by Going Green A Retro Fitness franchisee cut their electricity costs by adding eco-friendly features.

By Jason Daley

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sweating the small stuff: Russ Golan of Retro Fitness.

It's ironic that the biggest expense at a gym--a place where people go to expend energy--is electricity. All those elliptical trainers, treadmills, TVs and bright halogen lights can work up a hefty power bill. And running a gym on New York's Long Island, home to pricey electricity rates? Fuhgeddaboudit.

Still, Russ and Amy Golan were determined to open a Retro Fitness franchise in Syosset, N.Y. After 25 years in a family-owned medical-equipment importing business, they wanted to jump to the other side of the equation--preventing illness, rather than treating it. But the possibility of racking up a $6,000 monthly electric bill held them back. That is, until Russ started looking into green energy and came up with numerous solutions to integrate into his facility to keep costs down.

"We went as green as we could without inventing a whole new system of doing things," Russ explains. He says the changes implemented have resulted in savings of more than 30 percent on their power bill, and they expect to break even in five years.

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