If you’ve ever spent time in a spa or gym, you know the value of the sauna. Whether you use it as a way to de-stress your muscles or simply as a place to relax and revive, it’s easy to want to spend as much time in the sauna as you do in the pool or on the elliptical machine.
More and more homes are adding personal indoor or outdoor saunas as a way to provide a personal relaxation space as well as add value to the property. Saunas take up very little space, are easy to install and are surprisingly eco-friendly. Here’s what you need to do to add an eco-friendly sauna to your home.
Choose your space
Take some time to plan your prospective sauna room, starting with the location. Do you prefer an indoor or outdoor sauna? If you want an indoor sauna, will you be adding it as an interior space to an existing room or will you be expanding the footprint of your home? If you want an outdoor sauna, will it be near other facilities like a swimming pool? Will there be a space to store towels and clothing? Is it near enough to the house to allow for a quick, comfortable walk to and fro?
Choose your style
You can choose from almost innumerable architectural styles, whether you prefer a gazebo-style sauna or a classic rectangular-style sauna. Each of these styles offers different amounts of space and different seating arrangements, and each is built with a different amount of raw materials. If you’re thinking eco-friendly, it’s best to choose the smallest sauna that is comfortable for your needs; not only are you using less material, you’re also requiring less energy to heat the sauna.
Choose your building materials
Saunas are predominantly made of wood, so it’s easy to decide that you prefer to use reclaimed wood for your sauna structure. Whether you build your sauna yourself or hire a sauna company, specify that you want to use as much reclaimed lumber as possible for the walls, flooring and benches. Cedar is the most popular sauna material, so look for reclaimed cedar sources in your area. By using reclaimed wood, you prevent new trees from being cut down.
Choose your heat source
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly sauna, there’s only one way to go: infrared heating. Nearly all sauna manufacturers prefer infrared heat, as it uses much less energy to heat the space. In addition, since infrared heat is actually created from infrared light felt as radiant heat, the temperatures are much lower than those of traditional saunas and you are able to spend more time inside your sauna without worrying about safety.
After you’ve thought about these options, choose the eco-friendly sauna that best meets your needs. Once your sauna is installed, consider additional environmentally-savvy ways of adding value to your property such as heat-saving window treatments, a wood-fired hot tub made of reclaimed cedar or – if you prefer – the sauna’s twin cousin, the steam room.