Walking around the gym, watching all those people spinning or walking or treading or ellipsing….wouldn’t it make good sense to harness all that rat-race energy as power? Could you imagine getting a free gym membership for spending a certain amount of time on power-generating machines? Well, seems plausible enough, and may actually be coming to A Gym Near You.
The California Fitness club in Hong Kong is among the first to jump on the green energy treadmill – stairmaster and cross-training machines at the gym have been wired up to the building’s lighting system. If other gyms follow suit, it could kick off a new motivational craze, in which sweat equals glow.
….the Hong Kong scheme is one of a new wave of ‘energy recapture’ ideas aimed at harnessing the surplus power of casual activities, to generate electrical power that would otherwise come from the national grid.
But wait, folks, it gets even better.
Other recapture ideas include using the energy of footfalls to light up pedestrian tunnels, and military backpacks that use the wearer’s movements to refrigerate the medical supplies inside. And a Dutch nightclub has even installed a dance floor that lights up when tiny ‘piezoelectric’ crystals inside it are deformed by the dancers’ feet.
But how much energy is being generated? Is it really enough to make an impact on “dirtier” sources?
When all 13 machines at the Hong Kong gym are being furiously pedalled, the energy output is only enough to power five 60-watt bulbs. And even if they were used for 10 hours a day, it would take the club 82 years to pay off its US$15,000 investment.
Uhhh, so I guess its more of a gimmick (or exercise-motivational technique) than a practical energy netting solution. And what about the uber-cool Dutch dance floor? An uber-cool $260,000–much more than they will save on their lighting bill.