Green Spa

The Green Spa Experience
Wetlands and Greywater System
Green Spa Network
Present and Past Environmental Efforts
   
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
   
Eco-Friendly Products
   
Reducing Water Consumption
   
Improving Energy Efficiency
   
Local Community
   
Business Practices
Future Environmental Goals
What You Can Do
Links and Resources


NEW! Yipi.com features Osmosis

This short clip highlights our newest renovations to the Spa and explains the magic of the baths.



The Green Spa Experience

Osmosis has been an eco-conscious sanctuary since it’s beginning 25 years ago. We strive to create a compelling "Green Spa Experience" that strengthens the connection between personal and planetary wellness. While a visit to Osmosis is a holistic and grounding experience, you can still expect the feeling of rejuvenation and transformation you would expect from visiting a modern day spa.

Greening and resource conservation have been a focus at Osmosis since 1989, when we began with a derelict 5-acre property in Sonoma County. After removing dilapidated railway cars and many truck-loads of debris, 25 years of continual renovation have transformed Osmosis into one of the most attractive day spas in the country.

Our efforts include recycling, composting and onsite vermiculture, reduced water and energy usage, and environmentally friendly products throughout the spa.  Personal health, longevity, and planetary sustainability all connect in the spa experience at Osmosis.

If you have questions or comments about our Greening process, please email Green@Osmosis.com We'd enjoy hearing from you.

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Wetlands and Greywater System

An exciting recent environmental achievement is the installation of a constructed wetlands to work with our greywater system. This is the first county approved wetlands for non-agriculture business in Sonoma County. This will save nearly 1000 gallons of water per day by recycling our sink and shower water for underground irrigation. Osmosis is paving the way for other local businesses seeking to transform used water into thriving gardens.  Sonoma County Supervisor Efran Carillo and several members of the Water Agency visited to see the wetlands and discuss potential applications for other local businesses and agencies.

In addition to being beautiful water gardens in and of themselves, constructed wetlands support biological diversity. Essentially an organic water treatment facility, our constructed wetlands will serve as a home for thriving plant and animal life, including Northern California’s abundant native birds, reptiles, water lilies, and more. 

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Green Spa Network

Osmosis is proud to be a founding member of the Green Spa Network, a non-profit trade organization dedicated to bringing sustainability practices to the spa industry. As one of twelve founding Seed Spas we have committed to an in-depth environmental assessment and action plan that will also provide the expertise to assist other spas.

GSN projects are providing resources for the spa community including:

  • Greening Benchmarks for the Spa Industry
  • The Release of a "Green Spa Toolkit”
  • An Annual Conference to Exchange Ideas and Practices
  • An Internet Forum to Foster Collaboration Among Spas Seeking to Green their Operations 

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Present and Past Environmental Efforts

To reinforce our deepening commitment to sustainability, Osmosis is transforming every aspect of our operation to align with principles of earth-friendly living. Our goal is to demonstrate that eco-conscious business practices will improve the viability of a business and, at the same time, address the planetary imperative for sustainability.

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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

  • Redwood from the bridge that previously crossed Salmon Creek in front of the spa was recycled into tubs for the cedar enzyme baths, the bridge in the tea garden, the pavilion in the meditation garden, and several Pagodas.
  • The business office and staff room are located in historical train cabooses that were left on the property.
  • Our enzyme bath material starts from naturally fallen Port Orford Cedar in Oregon. It is then gathered by a local company to make arrow shafts and we take the leftover shavings and refine them into our soft fluffy enzyme bath.
  • We installed a special noiseless dishwasher and offer guests water and tea in ceramic cups. This allowed us to stop using paper cups, which cannot be recycled or composted, and our garbage output has shrunk by 25%
  • The Waste Stream is tracked and managed for continued improvement towards zero waste.
  • Our composting system is being updated with assistance from a world-renowned microbiologist.
  • We discontinued using can liners for recycling wastebaskets, and are reusing can liners in the trash baskets when possible.
  • We have switched from the bottled electrolyte drink, Recharge, to a concentrated water-additive to decrease the amount of glass and packaging wasted.
  • Used enzyme bath mix is provided to the community for use as mulch, saving approximately 18 cubic yards of landfill space per month.

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Eco-Friendly Products

  • All skin and body products are free of carcinogens and produced by companies committed to the highest standards of health and environmental responsibility.
  •  We are proud to use Phyt’s skincare line for our facials. It is certified organic by EcoCert in France and uses nothing synthetic, only 100% natural ingredients.
  •  We use CleanWell hand sanitizer throughout the spa and we also sell it in out retail space. This is a completely natural, non-toxic and proven effective hand sanitizer with Thyme extract as the active ingredient.
  • Cleaning products and practices have been streamlined towards non-toxic and steam-powered cleaners.
  • The tub rooms were recently refinished with low VOC paint.
  • We serve organic teas imported and created by small local companies.
  • Our offices use non-old-growth, 80% post-consumer, recycled paper.
  • 100% recycled toilet tissue, paper towels and facial tissue are used throughout the Spa.
  • We use microfiber sheets which have a longer lifespan and lighter laundry load than cotton fabrics. They dry in half the time and are recyclable at the end of their life at the spa.
  • Local artists and craftspeople refinished much of the spa with eco-sensitive materials, including recycled driftwood, organic textiles and non-toxic paints composed of natural ingredients like clay, plant oils, and latex from rubber trees.
  • Our retail area is labeled with Local and Green tags and we are working with vendors to reduce packaging and implement sustainable practices.
  • We have installed interface carpeting, allowing replacement of small sections when needed instead of replacing the entire carpet.

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Reducing Water Consumption

  • We recently installed a wetlands on site to recycle greywater for irrigation. Our greywater system also received upgrades.
  • A water-treatment system enhances taste and removes all chlorine with a patented technology from Japan, eliminating the need for trucking in bottled water.
  • Drip irrigation for all landscaping reduces water lost to evaporation.
  • Low-flow shower heads and toilets have been installed in the facilities serving the enzyme baths. The restroom near the massage treatment rooms has a dual-flush system.

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Improving Energy Efficiency

  • We recently installed solar hot water panels on our roof. We were one of the first businesses to take advantage of the new Sonoma County Energy Independence Program. The solar panels heat our water to 129 degrees so our on-demand propane water-heaters have minimal usage.
  •  Our boutique uses LED lighting in the retail displays.
  • PG&E did an extensive energy audit and gave us a rebate for the improved insulation.
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs are used in almost every light in the spa and offices. All treatment rooms now have dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs to enhance the spa ambiance.
  • A heat pump was installed to replace the less-efficient, gas-fired HVAC system.
  • We are a test site for an innovative thermostat system using multiple sensors and a computer to maximize efficiency and augment the HVAC system with waste heat from the attic, cool air from under the building, and outside air when appropriate.
  • We insulated the water heaters and pipes, and installed timers on the hot-water circulation pump.
  • Doors and doorways were upgraded to provide better insulation and improved temperature control in the spa.
  • Most windows throughout the spa are double-paned.
  • We have increased the R-Value of the insulation in the attic to R50.

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Local Community

  •  In 2007 and 2009 Osmosis was recognized by the Business Environmental Alliance of Sonoma County with its Best Practices Award for our environmentally sound business practices.
  • In 2009 Osmosis was proud to found and sponsor the now popular, Freestone Fermentation Festival a community-building fund raiser for the Ceres Community Project. Ceres brings teens into the kitchen to learn about growing, preparing and eating healthy foods through serving as the program’s chefs. As chefs, the teens prepare thousands of beautiful, delicious and organic meals for individuals and families facing cancer and other life threatening illnesses. Each year this celebration of all things fermented features unique foods, beverages and of course, the cedar enzyme bath as well as great family fun and entertainment.
  •  Members of New College’s Green Business MBA program performed a Sustainability Study for us.
  • The Presidio School of Management performed a thorough report providing information on greening options, their costs, and the benefits of those improvements as they would reflect in customer satisfaction. 
  • EcoRing performed a Green Business Assessment to aid us in becoming a Sonoma County Certified Green Business.We strive to source products, services and partnerships from our local community. Our marketing efforts frequently involve partnering with other local small businesses for specials and packages.

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Business Practices

  • Outdoor pagodas offer our guests the opportunity to enjoy a massage in the presence of nature, providing the ultimate green spa setting.
  •  Our Meditation Garden and Tea Garden provide a sanctuary where guests can feel a connection to the earth and the peacefulness within.
  • A Greening Assessment was completed as part of our role as a Seed Spa for the Green Spa Network.
  • We've made a positive influence on our laundry service by educating and supporting them in taking steps towards green practices.
  • We remove our name from junk mail lists to decrease the amount of unnecessary incoming mail.
  • Staff is educated on re-using office products and printing on both sides of the paper.
  • Conversion to bio-diesel is underway with one vehicle (to transport enzyme bath materials) already powered by recycled vegetable oil.
  • We developed an Environmental Mission & Policy Statement statement, a draft of which can be viewed here.
  • An eco-tour was organized for staff to attend a local recycling facility to increase awareness and engagement in the process of waste reduction.
  • We created a brochure to inform our guests about our sustainable practices. Employees receive regular updates and are always encouraged to comment or assist with environmental projects.

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Future Environmental Goals

  • Complete the certification process with the Sonoma Green Business Program. After many upgrades and several site reviews we are only a few faucet aerators away!
  •  Complete the process for LEED-Existing Building Certification (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design).
  •  Further expand our vermiculture program.
  • Continue to work towards Zero Waste.
  • Refine our tracking tools to quantify progress and efficiency.
  • Replace the carpet in massage rooms with natural fiber or cork flooring.
  • Quantify our green house gas emissions and develop a plan to reduce and offset.
  • Research and formulate a system to further reduce our laundry load. 

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What You Can Do

Here are a few tips to help green your visit to Osmosis. We hope your Green Spa experience and the information here inspires you to other acts of sustainability:

  • Deposit waste in the appropriate trash, compost, or recycle bins
  • Keep the same ceramic cup with you to hydrate after each of your treatments
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Flush only toilet paper
  • Take short showers and turn off water while soaping
  • Enjoy the beauty and serenity of the Meditation and Tea Gardens

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Links and Resources

Many people have contributed to our greening process at Osmosis. Here are some of them, together with a few other resources you may find useful as you work toward a more sustainable way of life:

In February of 2008 Osmosis Founder Michael Stusser recorded a podcast for Green Living Ideas about Osmosis' greening efforts and our role in developing Green Spa Network. This local company provides green tips, how-to articles, down-loadable white papers, podcasts and videos at www.greenlivingideas.com

Students from the Presidio School of Management's Sustainable Management MBA Program outlined a sustainability path for the spa.

Another valuable option for learning more about sustainable management is the Green MBA program, formerly at New College of California, and now relocated to Dominican University.

Sebastopol Heat & Cool, Inc. is working with Alexei Dolgoff on the experimental air-handling system.

The beautiful natural wall finishes at Osmosis were hand-made and installed by Janine Bjornson of Clay, Bones and Stones, and Tracy Thieriot of Tactile Interiors.

Craig Mitchell designed the driftwood furnishings at Osmosis. Phone: 707-888-4856

Restorative Technologies provided the new water filtration system.

GreenHome.com has been very helpful in suggesting and supplying non-toxic cleaning supplies, recycled products, and advice to Osmosis in developing our greening process.

Is your business interested in going Green? Check out the Bay Area Green Business Program to learn more.

There's a great way to evaluate your ecological footprint at earthday.net (Look on the right for a link to "Ecological Footprint.") It takes about a minute and it's certainly enlightening!

Tired of junk mail and dinnertime phone calls? Center for Democracy & Technology's tools make it easy to opt out.

Learn more about the world of worms for composting at wormwoman.com and cityfarmer.org

Green America is a valuable resource for Green information.

Joseph Phelps Vineyards has a new winery in Freestone using bio-dynamic principles. Read more about this technique.

Read more about the BEA of Sonoma County.

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Osmosis is in the News!!

Read about the Osmosis Meditation Garden in the San Francisco Chronicle!

 
 
 
Osmosis is a Green Spa

As a founding member of the Green Spa Network, we are leading the way in bringing sustainable practices to the spa industry. Greening Osmosis is an ongoing process, and we are commited! Learn More