Monday, September 29, 2008

Conn. Gym Uses 'People Power' To Energize Building

“You've heard of solar power and wind power to generate electricity. Now get ready for people power - it's being generated at a Connecticut gym where exercise is being turned into energy. From the energetic instructor to the sweaty riders, everything looks like it should in a typical spin class at Ridgefield Fitness Club. But the riders aren't just burning energy, they're creating it. The club is the first in its area with new technology called ‘Green Revolution,’ a system that allows the club to supply its own energy through its very own gym-goers, reports CBS station WCBS-TV in New York. ‘If you're gonna be here and gonna be working out, why not turn it into energy? It makes total sense,’ says Allison Stockel, a Ridgefield patron. How it works is a ‘power pod’ attaches to the wheel of a regular spin bike, turning it into an electrical generator. As riders pedal, power is produced and fed into an ‘inverter,’ where it's sent to the gym's electrical grid, keeping lights on and fans running. ‘Anything that can give back to the club, save energy and pay for itself over time is gonna be great,’ says Jim Johnston, the club's owner. Johnston thinks the new system will really appeal to eco-conscious exercisers. A single workout produces enough power to light four fluorescent bulbs for an hour. Over the course of a year, spin classes will produce enough juice to light 72 homes for a month. ‘Everyone's become more personally competitive, trying to see how much wattage they can create,’ says Cathy Wien, who instructs the spin class. The setup is the first of its kind in Connecticut, but it turns out all over the world, all kinds of people are coming up with all kinds of ways to capture ‘people power.’ In London, a nightclub generates electricity with power cells in the dance floor. And some cities are looking at technology in sidewalks to capture energy from pedestrians. Meanwhile, the people behind the pedal power at Ridgefield are looking at other ways to generate energy while people exercise. Those other ways include adapting the technology so it works on treadmills and elliptical gliders, not just spin bikes.”

No comments: