Turning The ‘Freshman 15′ Into Clean Energy
Most colleges today have a fitness center where motivated students can get in shape or show off the shapes they already have. These fitness centers feature rows of treadmills, elliptical machines and stair-steppers, all sucking up electricity just so students can get their sweat on. But wait, aren’t calories a type of energy? They are indeed, and thanks to the innovative work of SportsArt Fitness, now those calories can be captured by gym equipment and used to generate free electricity.
The Green System is a “pod” of fitness products attached to an inverter that harnesses human-generated power from exercisers and feeds it back into the power grid as useable energy. “The power inverter attached to the Green System is about the size of a stereo receiver and has a regular 240VAC plug that needs to be wired to the grid for safety. To operate the system, a person would simply start exercising,” Bob Baumgartner, Product Manager for SportsArt Fitness said. “Each pod can generate up to 2,000 watts per hour during full use. A typical health club that replaces all of their ellipticals and cycles with Green Systems could see savings of over $3,000 per year on electricity bills,” Baumgartner said.
Well, students at Tennessee Tech University and California’s Chapman University aim to put that claim to the test. The two schools are going head to head in “The Kilowatt Throwdown“ to see which can turn the most fat into the most energy in one month’s time. The contest is running from February 15-March 15; the school that produces the most energy will win a $7,000 treadmill from SportsArt Fitness. EcoFit, a separate company that provides the monitoring equipment that can be used with the Green System, will provide the top exercisers (aka energy producers) with separate awards.
Imagine if all the gyms in a town, or a city the size of New York switched to energy-generating equipment instead of energy-consuming equipment. Soon there may be a glut of free clean energy just waiting to be funneled back into the grid — no panels or turbines required! And probably lots more trim waistlines, which doesn’t sound so bad either.
Image via Thinkstock