We founded Sauna Society on the fundamental idea that natural environments can support us in improving health in a modern world. Our team often finds inspiration through our connection with nature, and through our use of sauna bathing are exploring how we can better adapt our bodies and lifestyle within our natural environment.
We wanted to build our sauna by the sea to utilise and maximise its spectacular ability to support our physical and mental health. We understand that the spaces and locations that we inhabit are not so much separate from us but something that when considered carefully can create systemic benefits that reach far beyond any that can be described by material descriptions of benefits and costs.
With that in mind, it made no sense for us to build a sauna business that wasn’t considerate of its natural environment. During the early stages of our project we contacted Exeter University and worked with representatives from their TEVI project to research and consider how we could take steps to ensure that our sauna supports nature and the environment as much as it supports us.
TEVI is the Cornish word for grow; it’s a good choice of name for a project that works with Cornish businesses to develop projects that benefit both the local economy and the environment. They work on projects that leverage, facilitate, or cultivate natural resources in some way to generate value that goes beyond financial benefit in Cornwall. We are really pleased with the support that they have been able to offer us in making our business a sustainable and regenerative one.
What working with TEVI meant for us was a lifecycle and sustainability assessment of our sauna. Working with their team we have been able to carefully consider the materials used to build our sauna, as well as the resources we use in its operation. If you would like to learn more about the TEVI project you can visit their website at tevi.co.uk.
How we choose to heat our Sauna
The first and perhaps most obvious issue that TEVI helped us consider was how the wood that we are burning to heat the sauna would effect the environment. The impact will depend largely on the type and source of wood that we use, and it has been great to learn about the green carbon cycle and to know that by using sustainably grown and harvested wood as fuel we are not adding additional carbon into the global carbon cycle. TEVI helped us analyse and consider the CO2e cost of operation, and then suggested ways that we can reduce that impact, as well as offset it by investing in certified carbon offsetting projects.
How a Sauna Society Sauna is constructed
Working with TEVI has been helpful for us to understand that sustainability and regenerative business practice must be taken into consideration from the very beginning of a project. It’s why we chose to work with Wildhut for the design and construction of our sauna. At every opportunity we’re looking to work with businesses who, like us, care and advocate for the environment and are working to develop sustainable and regenerative business practices.
Sauna construction is not an easy business, and although not all of Wildhut’s materials are sourced from within the UK, they have sourced local and sustainable materials when possible. This means that our sauna is insulated with lamb’s wool instead of the more common synthetic alternative, and the wood, chosen for it’s excellent thermal insulation properties, is sourced from a sustainably accredited Canadian forestry. If a sauna is well insulated then less energy is required to heat it and maintain that heat, and less energy is wasted through heat loss to the surrounding atmosphere, and over the course of its working life that sauna will have a lower environmental impact.
For more information on Wildhut saunas please visit wildhut.com.
Our Sauna arrived at our site above Watergate Bay last week, however that does not mean that our considerations towards regenerative and sustainable business have ended. Our consultation with TEVI highlighted how we could work with soap manufacturers to use the ash created by our stove to turn a potential waste material into a new product with value, and starting to close the loop to create a circular economy.
These considerations are just the beginning for us and we look forward to working with the other projects who share our space on the Watergate cliffs to advocate for protecting and developing the bay’s beautiful natural resources.
Sustainable business practice is something that we care deeply about, and we hope that by visiting our sauna and engaging in our workshops at Watergate Bay, visitors may also be able to consider how they in turn can work to steward our beautiful natural environments for future generations.
We look forward to welcoming you to Watergate Bay. If you have any further questions or recommendations on how we could work to make our business more sustainable then we look forward to hearing them.