Written by Frankie Sparacio, ESLLC 2016-2017
Working out can be a hassle, but we know that exercising is extremely important to our health. However, what may be healthy for us may not be so healthy for the environment. With hundreds of electric workout machines, flat-screen TVs, and air conditioning, gyms can consume immense amounts of energy. Instead of burning through energy, some gyms have focused on producing their own energy. So called green gyms are popping up all over the country, a notably one being The Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon. The Green Microgym is a 3,000-sq-ft. gym, with over 200 members. The gym was founded by Adam Boesel, who is also the inventor of PlugOut Technology, which enables the machines to produce electricity.
Energy produced by the flywheel is captured. Cords send the converted AC current into a standard wall outlet, and the newly created energy is automatically used before the building draws power from the grid. An average workout creates 37.5 watt hours, which is enough to power a phone for a week. Since 2009, the gym has generated 20% of their own electricity (combining solar and human power). They have saved 440,000 Kilowatt hours, which is equal to 880,000 pounds of carbon emissions. Along with the energy producing equipment, the Microgym also features treadmills that use 30% less electricity than regular models, tablets rather than TVs, recycled paper products, LED lighting, no plastic water bottle sales, and so much more.
The Green Microgym is a relatively small gym, but the model from which it runs is impressive. If large scale gyms, like 24 Hour Fitness, utilized this technology, many other gyms would follow their lead. As nice as that sounds, I doubt that big gyms will invest their money into energy producing equipment. However, gyms like 24 Hour Fitness can at least make a bigger effort to practice some more sustainable habits. Using LED lighting, recycled paper products, installing water bottle drinking fountains are all good ideas. Green gyms are amazing, and they may even make exercising seem more appealing, resulting in more people exercising!
Newcomb, Tim. “In the Gym: Clean Energy from Muscle Power.” Time. Time Inc., 26 Nov.2010. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.
“Our Green Advantage | The Green Microgym: Electricity-Generating Fitness Equipment.” The Green Microgym ElectricityGenerating Fitness Equipment. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.