To some it was just a tiny, dilapidated old bungalow-nothing more than a shedóbut to David Lurey, a passionate environmentalist and a dedicated yogi, it was the perfect space for a green-friendly yoga studio. With the help of a contractor who shared his vision, Lurey completely renovated the 200-square-foot room using as many of the latest environmentally friendly innovations as he could afford. "Environmentalism is very much a part of my life," says Lurey, who's based in San Francisco and is a board member of the Green Yoga Association in Berkeley, California, "so being able to incorporate that into my business felt right."
Lurey looked for nontoxic paints and recycled building materials and made "green" choices about heating, insulation, flooring, lighting, and props (see the chart to the left for details). Whenever possible he opted for the greenest solutionólike using radiant heat or UltraTouch insulation rather than the old-fashioned (and toxic) pink fiberglass material. Even if it meant upfront costs were higher, he was confident that he'd make up for it with either lower bills or, a bigger bonus, better health. Eventually Lurey plans to install solar panels once he's recouped some of his other expenses.
In the meantime, the results of his efforts are palpable and practical. He teaches free yoga classes for charities, and he used to host Tuesday-night kirtans for friendsóuntil they got too popular and had to be moved to a nearby yoga studio. "I felt like a club owner," he says, "as if I had to stop people and ask, 'Are you on the guest list?' " Now that he's not playing bouncer anymore, Lurey can appreciate his new space and the energy that went into making it sustainable. "It was my hands that helped create this place, and it's my heart that's behind the green-yoga concept," he says. "When I come in here, I feel I'm in a sacred, healthy space."