Life Time Fitness
Project type: Commercial
Project size: 110000
Cost/sq ft: $185
Completion date: October 01, 2007

Project Goals

Life Time Fitness aimed to implement sustainability initiatives that reflect its business model and operating philosophy. This project represents Life Time Fitness’ commitment to responsible environmental stewardship and will serve as a model for future Life Time Fitness construction projects.

Project Description

Life Time Fitness built a new multi-use health and fitness center on a 35.7 acre site in South Austin. The center includes a 110,000 square-foot building and parking for more than 600 vehicles. Design teams worked closely with Austin Energy Green Building to achieve a three-star rating. The project is also seeking LEED certification.

Life Time Fitness designed the center to reduce energy use and save water. Energy—efficient design elements such as insulation, glazing, lighting installations, and high efficiency HVAC help the building perform 34% better than the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 90.1-1999 energy conservation standard. Low-flow bathroom fixtures and recycled water help reduce water use.

Managing storm water is a key concern because the building site is in the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone. The Life Time Fitness site design includes an excavated, earth-lined retention basin that stores storm water runoff from the parking lot and the roof. The system uses that water for irrigation. This reduces the use of potable water and lets the soil filter the water naturally before it enters the aquifer. Other site-specific considerations include favorable impervious cover ratios and water-saving native landscaping.

Reflective roofing and numerous trees shading the large paved areas in the parking lot reduce the center’s contribution to the urban heat island effect.

Project Features


  • Dedicated in-house design team gives Life Time Fitness full control of its building models
  • As developer, designer, contractor and manager, Life Time Fitness involves team members from site selection through project completion and operation
  • The South Austin center is being used as a model for future construction


  • Rainwater and air conditioning condensation collected from the roof and contained in two 20,000 gallon underground tanks
  • Parking lot storm water directed toward a natural retention basin and then used for irrigation
  • The 9.5 acre building and parking lot represents less than 27% total site impervious cover


  • Potable water savings of 2,232,705 gallons
  • Low-flow, 2.0 gallon per minute showerheads
  • Dual-flush toilets
  • Low-flow urinals
  • Reclaimed water system captures water from the building’s two 4,000 gallon whirlpools

Energy & Atmosphere:

  • Building performs more than 34% better than ASHRAE 90.1-1999 requirements using LEED Energy Cost Budget methodology
  • Additional insulation on the mass walls contributes to a superior thermal envelope
  • High efficiency window glazing
  • High efficiency lighting with daylight controls
  • Day lighting provides a substantial portion of interior lighting
  • High efficiency HVAC system

Materials & Resources:

  • 2,275 tons (86%) of construction waste diverted from the landfill
  • 16% of total material costs contained recycled content
  • Prefabricated structural elements cast at factory greatly reduced waste
  • Steel, fly ash, gypsum board, and acoustical ceiling tiles contain recycled content
  • Climbing area floor has 8 inches of reused and chopped foam and rubber

Indoor Environmental Quality:

  • Carbon dioxide monitoring adjusts ventilation rate in parts of the building with significant load variations throughout the day
  • Day lighting in the pool, gymnasium, main lobby, and second floor exercise area floods most of the interior spaces with natural light

Innovations or Other:

  • Preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles
  • 34 spaces (approximately 5% of the total lot) reserved for preferred parking

Testing/General Results:

The Life Time Fitness South Austin project succeeded in reducing energy and potable water use. Material conservation efforts included construction waste recycling and use of recycled materials in building products. Company policy promotes reducing the use of toxins in cleaning and laundry products and conducting business with other environmentally friendly companies. The facility encourages its members to reduce their use of fossil fuels by providing bicycle racks and preferred parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Key project results include diverting 86% of construction waste from the landfill, saving more than 2.2 million gallons of potable water, and achieving energy performance 34% better than ASHRAE 90.1-1999 requirements.

According to Life Time Fitness’ in-house project architect Jay Amundson, the South Austin building serves as a key launch pad in accelerating the company’s sustainability goals and initiatives. “Austin Energy made green building strategies approachable and easy to accomplish. The process gave us a lot of confidence and we realized that with a little extra effort and funds, we could design high performing, sustainable buildings. At the same time, given our design-build model, we also found that our buildings were already more efficient than previously considered. Looking ahead, all our 2009 clubs will be designed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in mind.”

Last Updated: 5/6/14
Project Team
Life Time Fitness South Austin’s site has minimal impervious cover, a stormwater management system, and water-saving native landscaping.

Natural light in much of the interior space reduces the need for artificial lighting.

The climbing area floor has eight inches of reused and chopped foam rubber.