Soon, all that hard work you put in at the gym may not just be for your health, but also helping to supply power to your local grid. A sports equipment maker reports it has slowly been installing its power harvesting gym equipment across the country
We've reported on this idea before — work-stations with pedals to power up your computer and the plan for outdoor treadmills to power streetlights, but using gym equipment seems to be the most practical interpretation of the trend.
Sports Art Fitness supplies some of the gym equipment converting your energy into kilowatt power. Specially designed cardio equipment such as elliptical machines and recumbent and upright cycles are connected to a booster box that grabs your energy. The energy then passes through an inverter transforming it into an alternating current that can flow into the grid.
The amount of power generated is variable — depending on how often the machines are used and how hard the level of exercise is. That said, the company claims the system could convert 75 percent of the power generated into the grid — a bold estimate over other such systems.
Tennessee Tech University is the latest location to install the machines in their "Green Room" fitness center when older equipment needed replacing. Their thinking was simple — if the machines are there why not try it?
Other universities and gyms in Southern California and Victoria, Canada have bought into the system, and they aren't the only players in the growing market.
Would the gym equipment really produce substantial kilowatt-hours for them to pay off? As previously mentioned, there are a lot of variables. However, as long as there are going to be people hitting the elliptical machines to work off a bad date or take a spin class to work off a serving of ice cream why not channel that power regardless? Add in applications allowing people to measure how much power they are actually adding to the grid and it could even be act as a different type of goal setting with their workout and inspire them to work harder.
Good for you and the grid? Seems like a positive trend.