Have you considered adding hot yoga to your studio and were wary of the expense? For many studio owners, the benefits of hot yoga outweigh the additional cost. However, at what point does the cost outweigh the benefit, and what measures can be taken to control those costs?

Creating the Environment

First, let’s look at what must be done to create the hot yoga experience. For most studios, this means heating a room to 105 degrees. Most building’s indoor temperatures are maintained between 68 to 72 degrees. This requires an average rise of 35 degrees to create the desired environment.

The Challenge

Many buildings that are being used for hot yoga studios have uninsulated interior walls, limited insulation in outside walls, ceilings as high as 18 feet, lots of windows, and an 800-square-foot space or larger used for hot yoga. All the above are not friendly to maintaining high studio temperatures. Consider trying to heat a 40-foot by 20-foot by 18-foot cardboard box to a livable temperature on a 32-degree day. The box has about the same ability to hold heat as uninsulated walls and windows. If the rest of the facility is maintained at 68 degrees, the heat loss is dramatic, even through inside walls. Also, with 18-foot ceilings you are trying to heat twice the volume of space as with nine-foot ceiling heights.

Controlling Energy Cost

Insulate exterior walls with a minimum of R-19 and interior walls with R-13, and use structural foam sheeting if possible or consider spray foam. Reduce ceiling heights and ensure the use of insulation as heat loss is greatest at the ceiling. Limit the use of glass and ensure it is energy efficient and UV rated.

Radiant versus Convective Heating Systems

There’s a studio that has two hot yoga rooms adjacent to each other, one with a traditional gas fired system and artificial humidifier, and the other with an electric far-infrared radiant panel system. The thermostat in the gas heated studio reads 105 degrees, yet thermal image readings at the floor were 91 degrees. In the far-infrared room the thermostat read 95 degrees, yet the floor readings were 104.5 degrees. A 10-degree lower thermostat equals savings. The owner of the studio said she had to leave the gas heated studio on 24 hours a day. Far-infrared radiant heat can make a big difference in operating cost. By heating bodies and objects directly versus air, it is more energy efficient, needs little or no artificial humidification, and requires no costly system maintenance and breakdowns. Most important, it’s healthier. 

Ralph Wilberg is the director of sales at Radiant Electric Heat and a consultant on super-heating spaces for hot yoga and fitness. Please contact Ralph at rwilberg@electricheat.com or 800.774.4450.