Fitness studios are asking their customers not to take too long a shower, the water in the swimming pools is colder than usual and the opening times for some saunas have been massively reduced. After the business slump suffered during the Corona lockdowns, the leisure and sports industry is now being hit hard again by the energy crisis and is forced to cut back on its offers – to the chagrin of its customers, who are absent in some places.
The decline in the indoor swimming pool is clearly noticeable, reports Christian Kunz, head of the municipal aquarium in Unterschleißheim. However, he thinks that some of them “have a harder time purse”. The two warm bathing days had already ended in July, and at the beginning of October the pool temperatures were lowered by one degree. In the outdoor thermal pool, bathers find a warm 33 degrees, but have to leave it again at 9 p.m., i.e. an hour earlier. The fact that the top of the electricity-heated sauna is only 90 degrees instead of the previous 95 degrees, “only experienced sauna-goers notice that,” says Kunz. This saves energy, as does significantly shorter airing before sauna infusions.
In the Phönixbad in Ottobrunn, too, the water temperature was lowered by between one and three degrees, depending on the pool, and the room temperature was lowered. The energy crisis hits the institution less financially, at least so far. Up to the end of the year you still have “good electricity prices”, says the managing director of Sportpark GmbH, Werner Müller; for 2023, however, he expects a significant increase of up to four times. So far there has not been a decline in the number of visitors, quite the contrary, apparently, Munich sauna-goers have been running down the doors in the Phönixbad for months, after all ten Munich baths had closed the saunas and only recently at least four out of ten opened again. For example, in September, which is actually a dead month, crazy numbers were written, reports Müller. How things will continue after January 1st, whether saunas might be closed after all, that’s in the stars.
In Pullach, the sauna is only open on weekends
In the meantime, the Pullach town hall administration decided on a radical cut in order to make a contribution against the global energy crisis. The sauna area in the Pullach leisure pool has only been open on Fridays and weekends since an internal decision was made on October 28th. “There are regular rounds of voting between those responsible in the Pullach municipality. Adjustments can therefore be made here at any time,” says Mayor Susanna Millennium (Greens). “Further restrictions cannot be ruled out either. The situation is dynamic and our reactions must be correspondingly flexible.”
At first, there were sometimes astonished reactions from the bathers, because many visitors thought the sauna was operated with geothermal energy, which is why they did not understand the closure. However, the sauna heaters and steam generators would be powered by electricity, while the swimming pools and the heating in the leisure pool would be supplied with geothermal energy. Therefore, the temperature of the water and the room temperature can currently be maintained, according to the town hall.
According to managing director Jörn-Thorsten Verleger, the prevailing weather conditions are more important for his customers than the question of saving energy when visiting the Grünwald amusement park. The worse the weather, the more tickets are purchased. According to a decision by the municipal council, they would have to do without an outdoor sauna by the end of March 2023. Therefore, the entrance fee was temporarily reduced by two euros.
By the end of October, energy had been saved by 19 percent, reports Ralf-Ulrich Machwirth, Managing Director of the Racket Park in Haar. To this end, several adjustment screws were turned. For example, the bio sauna will remain closed until further notice and the opening times of the other saunas have been reduced. The temperatures in the tennis, squash and badminton halls have also been reduced to 17 to 19 degrees, and the air is also colder in the fitness area. Most visitors showed understanding, some had already asked him why the entire sauna area was not closed, reports Machwirth.
Nico Steinegger, Managing Director of “Fit+” in Aying, has not yet had to take any drastic measures to save energy. This is due to the fortunate fact that a wood chip heating system runs directly under the studio, which in this way gets some of the heat. He is not concerned that members will save money at home and shower in the gym instead. He asked for the showers to be used sparingly – and indeed: “The showers almost never run for me,” says Steinegger.