Lotus blossoms

Partners Timmy Patterson and TJ Mundell wanted a day spa as eco-friendly as they are. So they invented Green Lotus

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ECO- AND GAY-FRIENDLY | TJ Mundell and Timmy Patterson founded Green Lotus with the promise to leave the smallest possible carbon footprint possible.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

As a massage therapist, Timmy Patterson was always looking for the perfect place to work. He finally found it when he opened his own spa.

Patterson always had private clients whom he would visit, but he was looking for some place he could do more than perform Swedish, deep tissue and Shiatsu on a folding table in someone’s living room. There were many places where the people were nice or the facilities high-end, but Patterson had something else in mind. He just didn’t know what.

Then, about a year ago, Patterson and his partner TJ Mundell, also a massage therapist, were hiking among the redwoods of California, outside San Francisco when they were struck by the majesty of nature.

“I just started crying,” Mundell says. “We said, ‘We need to be completely eco-friendly.’”

Now, spas are not the first businesses you think of as being all about the environment — they are probably near oil drillers on the scale of conservation of resources. After all, day spas are about creating a lush indoor environment for their clients — who believes that’s possible if there’s a sign reading “We’ve reused the towels used to dry your face all week long”?

But that’s not what Green Lotus is about. What it is about is leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible while pampering its customers. At first, they didn’t even know where to start. “We really hadn’t thought it through, we just ran with it,” says Patterson.

The perseverance has paid off, and now Green Lotus — located in the Knox-Henderson Village facing North Central Expressway — strikes the perfect balance between green-conscious practices and indulgent luxury.

The traditional spa services — massages, facials, etc. — are supplemented by unique procedures like chakra balance and a warm hot-oil treatment and Reiki. All of this takes place in a serene, soothing environment where textures, sounds and moods are just as vital to the experience as a good rubdown.

“It’s about creating a healing space,” says Mundell, lead therapist and chief operating officer.

Integrating those features with eco-friendly business practices has been the challenge. And it hasn’t been easy.

“We tried to get a recycling bin from the city [and it was very hard],” says Patterson, the founder and CEO. But they ended up thinking about nearly everything they did. “We carry organic products, but what spa doesn’t?”

They needed to do more. “More” included floor-to-ceiling revamping of the way things are usually done.

First, they do use fresh towels and sheets for every client. But the fibers in their linens are bamboo, a tough and ecologically sustainable textile. Next, they employ low-energy lighting that also has health benefits.

“We use salt lamps,” Mundell explains. “They release negative ions, which counteract the positive ions from fluorescent lamps. Salt is nature’s natural ionizer.”

They power their electrical needs as much off the grid as possible, too. A wind turbine provides as much as 90 percent of Green Lotus’ energy needs; on especially windy days, the meter will actually go backward as they return energy to the grid — the utility pays them.

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STONED TO LIFE | The Himalayan salt stones used at Green Lotus provide the body with access to 80 minerals; the salt lamps release healthy ions into the treatment room as well.

Customers with electric cars can recharge their batteries inside while their automobiles recharge outside — Green Lotus has a dedicated Blink charging station for clients who are as green as the spa.

It’s been a labor of love with as much sweat equity as anything else invested in the spa. Patterson personally installed the turbine, and built the lobby’s couch from reclaimed wood. It weighs more than 600 lbs. And for every service rendered, the company plants a tree. Since their soft opening in mid-April, Patterson and Mundell have planted more than 100 trees.

“This is really the next level of green,” Patterson says.

Just how committed are they here? Green Lotus promotes a virtually paperless environment: Clients fill out questionnaires on iPads, choose services from a screen and receive receipts via email. But what about their business cards? They’ve got that covered, too: The cards are made of recycled paper, and have seeds imbedded in them. So, when you’re done with the card, just drop it in some potting soil and a plant with spring out.

“Every little bit helps,” says Mundell.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 1, 2012.

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