More Gyms Are Tapping into Pedaling for Power...and also for Profit

Gyms-Tapping Into Pedaling Power photo

Photo of the Ridgefield Fitness Club by Green Revolution.

It is now officially a trend. While human-generated energy has previously been mostly limited to one-off solutions rigged together by inventive tinkerers, at least four gyms globally have now gotten in on the act, using the power from their members pedaling to reduce their energy bills, and in one case, even give back a little bit of the savings to gym goers! Started last year at Hong Kong's California Fitness, the idea of saving energy through human power is spreading. Read on.

Green Microgym Going Strong
Adam Boesel's Green Microgym in Portland has passed the 100 member mark, and it is taking energy conservation seriously. Instead of letting all the lights, fans and machines be on even when no one is actually working out, Green Microgym goers control the electronics around them. Boesel has a retrofitted a number of bikes in the gym to capture energy from the dynamo action of the bikes and feed it to batteries that then power other machines in the gym like his eco-friendlier treadmill. He eventually wants to feed user generated energy back to the grid so that members can offset every day the same amount of energy the gym uses. To that end, each hour a member spends pedaling generates $1 in credits that can be spent at the gym and two cafés. Boesel is also adding solar rooftop panels to help the gym further toward its goal of generating its own power. Boesel's bank of four interconnected bikes can get about 200 watts per hour, according to a story in the Christian Science Monitor.

At Ridgefield, serious spinners generate lots of watts
With human-powered generation, the amounts of energy generated are not huge, but it's the group effort that can make a difference. A group spinning class could generate about 300 kWh, according to Jay Whelan at Green Revolution. Green Revolution helped set up the system at Ridgefield Fitness Club in Hartford, Connecticut. Schwinn stationary bikes are connected to cabinet that functions as a inverter connected to the club's grid. And at Australia's first eco-gym patrons, the Surry Hills Boxing Club, members generate between 50-100 watts when exercising at a moderate pace, the gym says.

Bullitt Bike With Turbine photo

Photo courtesy Zakkaliciousness at flickr.
Human powered energy generation still small scale
The latest from our friends at Copenhagenize is the story of this very cool Bullitt cargo bike - converted with a mini wind turbine and solar panels into a mobile charging station. Three Danish enthusiasts - Ulrik Bing, Carsten Koch and Claus Nørregaard, are working to set-up human-powered training centers in Denmark. They've put together the cargo bike-power station and other examples of bike pedal power in order to motivate people to create their own energy and start to see what is possible. Bing, Koch and Nørregaard believe bikes like their decked-out Bullitt could have many practical applications. Riders commuting to work could generate extra power to batteries that than might be plugged into a building grid to say, run the low-energy hallway lighting. Right now the Bullitt bike is basically used as an educational tool, showing people what might be possible. The Danish trio have also built a bike that is connected to an incandescent light, to let the rider see how much they must pedal to keep it going, and then can be switched to a compact fluorescent to demonstrate the difference in power required. Here's to more sweat equity. Via: Copenhagenize and Green Microgym
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