Burning Fat to Turn on the Lights: Go to the Gym to Generate Some Juice!

What if you could “light up the room” when you walk into the gym?
Jan 13, 2010 8:00 PM ET

Yes, we know Gorgeous, all heads turn to admire your sexy body as you saunter from the locker room to the latest piece of fitness equipment to begin your daily workout. But I mean literally light up the room—generating enough surplus power from your cycling, rowing, lifting, running, stair-stepping and other gym activities to power the lights, TV, music, or charge your iPod?

Look, most of the energy we put into exercising on machines turns into friction- heat. Now this little guy below is getting a good workout, but he’s not going anywhere! Why not generate some juice while you get your aerobics in, and conserve some CO2 while you increase your O2 uptake??

Well, green gym rats - er, sorry, fitness buffs-in Hong Kong, Seattle, Portland and other cities can do just that. California Fitness has launched a system where the exercise you do is converted to energy to power the lights and other electronics.

The claim is that one person, exercising moderately, can generate 50 watt/hours of electricity. This is energy that is being wasted, not captured currently.  Over a year’s time, exercising one hour a day, that’s over 18 kilowatt hours of electricity generated and a bunch of CO2 saved. The Green Microgym in Portland, OR  figures that 240 hours a day on the equipment at their gym will meet all of their energy needs, and even offer cash incentives to work out and create electricity as you burn calories. They’ve even run a “Powerthon", generating a kilowatt hour with 10 machines in 3 hours, entertaining the exercisers with 3 bands to boot!

So get it in gear—turn calories into kilowatts and lard into light! Both you and the planet will look a little better, and you can begin to “light up the room” in more ways than one.

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