The next time you go into your gym and start working out on the sleek equipment you may be doing a lot more that burning fat and toning your body. You could well be contributing to making the world a better place by generating clean energy. Think about it – using muscle power to generate electricity. Really, how cool is that!
The Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon has a slogan, “Where fitness meets clean renewable energy.” The gym prides itself on using exercise bikes to harness the workout members do on it and convert it into electricity, which are then channeled into power outlets. As of now, Washington D.C. and New York City are the two places where this ingenious system has made a debut. But, seeing the popularity of this trend, Adam Boesel, owner of Green Microgym, has ambitious plans of opening 150 franchises all over the country within the next year.
An average workout can create 37.5 watt hours, which can power a phone for an entire week. While that might not seem impressive to you, imagine what hundreds of members have the potential of achieving. The figures are almost mind-boggling. Adam Boesel’s initiative has been accepted in good form by a lot of members who are really kicked by, what they call, their “green cred.” By accumulating enough green creds (which depends on the watts generated by them while exercising) gym members can earn gift certificates from local businesses – an extra perk for their effort and co-operation! Besides, this little scheme keeps the members motivated and brings in more business as well.
Although Boesel’s gym is going great guns, the idea of turning exercise equipments into electricity generating contraptions is by no means entirely novel. A gym in Hong Kong has been doing it for more than three years now. In fact, this concept has spilled out of gyms and found other takers as well. Hotel Crowne Plaza in Denmark, in an effort to popularize this green initiative, offers free meal worth 200 kroner (€27 or US$36) to guests that generate 100 watt hours of electricity by pedaling on the bicycles that are hooked up to electric generators. There are some bars in various countries that make customers pedal away for a while to get their pitchers of margaritas.
This trend has enormous potential – who knows what other initiatives will spring in its wake. But as long as it’s all good and beneficial and helps repair some of the damage man has wrecked on this planet, I am all for it.