Need a workout? Now you can turn your sweat into electricity.
Great advancements have been made in the search for and refining of sustainable power sources. According to energy experts, however, there are still many challenges when it comes to green electricity generation.
While big corporations are exploring all manners of natural resources in order to find solutions, some gym owners are using a surprising source to make a difference – human power.
How does it work?
The motto at so-called green gyms is simple – harness human energy to produce electricity. Gym owners do this by equipping their gym with exercise machines that are fitted with generators.
The machines most commonly configured for energy-production are bicycles and treadmills, but the elliptical trainer and step machine are also used. With every stroke of a pedal or turn off the treadmill belt, energy is created. This energy is either directly channelled into power outlets or stored in batteries for later use.
Electricity generated in this way does more than just benefit the environment – by adopting power-producing exercise machines in this way, gyms can promote themselves as environmentally friendly and also reduce their electric bills.
Where did it start?
The idea of harnessing human power to generate electricity was first put to use by a Hong Kong gym in 2007. A small gym in Oregon in North America soon followed suit, and they claim to be the first to properly develop and utilise human-created energy in gyms.
Fitness fanatics latched onto the idea of green gyms and a number of facilities soon opened in other parts of America. Membership fees are basically the same as at other gyms, but members of green gyms can say that they are doing their bit for the environment while getting their daily exercise.
Is it a viable solution?
Studies have shown that the dollar value of the energy created does not offset the cost of the capital spent in overhauling a gym. In fact, it might take several years for a gym to make back the money they invested in going green.
But this might change in the future, if retrofitted aerobic machines become commonplace – there are hopes that manufacturers of standard gym equipment will get involved by producing more of these machines. Then hopefully gym owners will follow suit and install more of them in their gyms.
In the meantime, a difference is still being made. And when it comes to the health of our planet, it doesn’t matter how big or small the benefit is – the only thing that matters is that something is being done.
Terrence has always been passionate about eco-friendly design and living, and continuously peruse energy reports and forums to investigate how what we do impact the environment.
What do you think?
How do you feel about power-producing exercise machines? Is the technology viable and good for the environment or is this just a fad?
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A gym powered by sweat and tears