What if we, as individuals, could contribute to renewable energy simply by working out? Imagine hitting the gym, getting into your zone, achieving optimal heart rate and… putting electricity back onto the grid.
Not only is it a pretty cool concept, it’s becoming a reality.
All those Stairmasters, elliptical trainers, running machines, bikes, etc., are powered by electricity. Add in lighting, sound systems, hair dryers and many of the other amenities included with a gym membership and it’s no wonder gyms use a lot of energy. Heck, my old gym was a converted single-screen movie theater that retained the screen and projector and showed movies for our workout pleasure. Though I have to admit, electrical use aside, that was much nicer than looking at the sweaty person next to me.
Seattle-based Resource Fitness has developed the technology to help keep both people and the planet healthy at the same time.
Their “plugOutt” technology converts an exerciser’s kinetic energy into electricity and sends the power to the grid. Their equipment uses a standard three-prong plug that plugs into a standard outlet. It’s more efficient than storing energy in batteries, and it eliminates the need for an inverter.
At Portland, Oregon’s Green Microgym, all their machines were purchased from Resource Fitness. They’ve found that people generate about 30 to 60 watt hours per workout. Thirty watt hours can power an iPad for three hours, and 60 watt hours can power a stereo for an hour. Hey, it’s not a lot, but it’s better than nothing.
When all the machines are in use, like during a spin class, Green Microgym generates more power than it draws, but on the whole, the gym doesn’t create enough electricity to meet all its own demands. “Still,” says owner Adam Boesel, “every little bit helps.”
I agree. As technology improves, there will be more ways to think outside the box. The Green Microgym example is one way that individuals and businesses came to together to find an innovative way to reduce energy usage.
What a way to combine their brain power with their physical power.
Article by Kimberly Caulfield, appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.