The next time you’re at the gym pumping those legs on the stationary bike, think about this: you have the ability to use that otherwise wasted kinetic energy for the good of the planet.
There is more and more focus on using our bodies as a source of energy. It’s sort of like the Matrix, where machines use humans as batteries, except this is the real world, and we’re not in incubators (or are we?), and intelligent machines don’t rule the world (or do they?).
“[The average] person has the ability of producing 50 watts of electricity per hour when exercising at a moderate pace, which means that to prevent 12 liters of CO2 from being released into the air, a person needs to produce the same amount of electricity by exercising on the specially setup machine for one hour. If a person spends one hour per day running on the machine, he/she could generate 18.2 kilowatts of electricity and prevent 4,380 liters of CO2 released per year,” said Steve Clinefelter, former president of California Fitness, to Ecohearth.com.
Unless you’re a super athlete like Lance Armstrong or Floyd Landis. According to Wired.com Landis averaged 232 watts of power while riding in the 2005 Tour de France. Even more amazing, in the final time trial (where Landis finished sixth) he averaged 379 watts over 75 minutes.
And green gyms are continuing to sprout up around the world. The Green Microgym, in Portland, Ore., has gotten a lot of attention for its green ways. It is equipped with retrofitted ellipticals and stationary bicycles that convert your energy to electricity and return that electricity into the gym’s electrical system. According to its website, The GreenMicrogym generated 36% of its own electricity (combining human and solar power) in 2010. It saved 37,000 Kilowatt hours or 85% (compared to traditional gyms per square foot).
Go Green Fitness in Connecticut sends access electricity back to the power grid for others in the community to use. According to Gogreenfitness.com a typical group cycling class with about 20 bikes has the potential to produce up to 3.6 megawatts (3,600,000 watts) of renewable energy per year. This is equivalent to the amount of power needed to light 72 homes for a month, while also reducing carbon emissions by over 5,000 pounds.
What can we get out of it? Besides saving energy, you can also get rewarded. SportsArt Fitness, maker of eco-friendly exercise equipment, teamed with British Columbia-based EcoFit to provide a system that motivates and engages exercisers using the green machines. Using an EcoFit card, gym members can track their energy output and fitness statistics both from their current session and over time; challenge other gym users, and ultimately, earn EcoPoints that they can redeem for discounts and offers at the facility and at other local businesses. The system is fully integrated with social media, too.
Cool green calorie-burning concepts
The River Gym
Thought up by Mitchell Joachim, principal architect, Archinode Studio + Partner Terreform 1, and Douglas Joachim, personal trainer and lecturer, The River Gym concept has New York City specifically in mind. Complete with onboard purification devices which will help clean the Hudson and East Rivers, these “soft floating micro-island gyms set on predetermined computer navigated loops will give fitness enthusiasts something fun to look at while pedaling on a stationary bike and provide transportation to travelers.
Read about this idea here
Sustainable Dance Club
The Sustainable Dance Floor is the first dance floor that captures the energy of dancing. The energy produced by movement is converted into electricity that is used to make the dance floor react to the dancer in an interactive way. The electricity can also be fed back to the electricity grid or used to power local systems such as LED-lights.
Watch this video, it’s pretty awesome!