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The Carbon Negative Quest: Portland Gym Converts Energy Of Pedal Bikes Into Electricity

| Friday August 29th, 2008 | 12 Comments

gym.jpgThe world’s finally come full circle for members of a new gym in Portland which is converting the pedal power of its bikes into real energy.
The gym, opening September 1, takes human powered energy from its fitness bikes and stores it in a battery which runs some of its other equipment. The 2,800 square foot gym, called the Green Microgym is owned by Adam Boesel, a former grade teacher. He was interviewed by the Seattle Times and told them its the first human-powered gym in the US.


The gym’s equipment is geared up to the gym’s mains includes fitness bikes, treadmills, and elliptical trainers. At the moment, the treadmills are 30% powered by the energy generated by humans. Boesel hopes to run his entire operations on energy generated through human activity. Four spin bikes (which do not require electrity) generate 200 to 600 watts of energy an hour, depending on how fanatic the person using it is.
The gym also has solar-panel awnings, energy-efficient ceiling fans and a yoga room with a cork floor. Oh, and there are no showers.
Even though the Green Microgym is the first of its kind in the US, a similar gym is already up and running in Hong Kong. Called the California Fitness gym, exercising people power the lighting system as well as the gym’s batteries, according to the Seattle Times.
And in London, nightspot Club Surya is even more exotic; a dance floor converts movement directly into energy!
Boesel is available for one-on-one consultation to other gym owners who wish to make their gyms green. As energy prices soar it makes sense to do some exercise that results in more than burning off calories. Creating energy whilst losing calories is certainly the closest human beings get to becoming carbon negative.


▼▼▼      12 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • Anonymous

    Such a genius idea, and it makes complete logical sense as well. This is the kind of stuff I want to see coming out in the world. Nightclubs, now gyms–I wonder what’s going to be next…

  • http://www.lionsledbysheep.com Steve N. Lee

    I can’t believe this hasn’t been done before.
    I always assumed that it hadn’t been because it simply couldn’t be! I assumed that the power generated would have been so little that it would’ve taken more power to collect and transfer it to another piece of equipment, thus making it prohibitively expensive. But we all know that saying about what happens when you ‘assume’, don’t we?
    But really, when it’s so obvious, if it was viable why hasn’t it been done earlier and on a massive scale?
    Okay, I’m not suggesting businessmen and women have a set of pedals under their desks to run their PCs, but come on – if a guy’s pedalling a bike already, it doesn’t take that much intelligence to see there’s energy going to waste there. I wonder how many other everyday activities could be hooked up to the grid with very little effort but significant results?
    Good article.
    Steve N. Lee
    author of eco-blog http://www.lionsledbysheep.com
    and suspense thriller ‘What if…?’

  • Uncle B

    Sooner or later, the slowly rising price of oil and the slowly devaluating dollar and the constant upward travail of inflation will teach the final environmental lesson to the American population. The worlds resources are finite and must be conserved for human survival. Short of growing masses of super-poor Americans supporting an uber-class of ultra-rich Americans, all lifestyles must change. This does not mean suffering for all, this means a paradigm shift in values and goals. Those things that do not require massive misuse and waste of the earth’s resources will become highly prized and typical American foibles, like the V-8 gasoline engine, McMansions, and fellatio by consumerism, the shopping disease, if you will, have to drop into the gulf of ignorance, where they belong. The best of America will survive the coming energy crunch and its great depression. Those with conservative values, low consumptive habits and good education will rise and flourish in the days of $12.00+ gal gas ahead. Those who cannot resist spending on all that is shiny or goes vroom- vroom, will perish in the piles of recyclable baubbles, of starvation and debt. The new oil free world cannot afford the social extravagances of the past, and sloth, gluttony, and greed will give way to efficiency, good health and education. Survival in the 21st century will require more effort on the part of the capable human being, both the physically and mentally capable. All others will fall by the wayside in poverty and disgrace!

  • http://myspace.com/heyimericv Eric V

    Next we can collect static electricity from stripper poles!

  • Peter Clarkson

    200 to 600 watts of energy an hour?
    The watt is a unit of power, not of energy. But 200 to 600 watts for 4 exercise bikes does sound reasonable, and I would guess that would come out as two kWh per day. That would cost about $50 per year if you were to take it from the grid.
    I hardly see this as commercially viable, and given the energy cost in manufacturing the generator and battery (not to mention the environmental issues in battery disposal) then I don’t see this as green technology at all.
    It’s yet another example of misguided action because people don’t sit down and work through the figures.

  • greenerman

    I have always thought that all my exercise was useless energy….maybe I should do some useful work instead of lifting weights and running around :) This is great

  • http://wiccanaltar.com DragonOak

    It is good to see people finally working on real solutions to real problems!

  • Unblock Myspace

    Sooner or later, the slowly rising price of oil and the slowly devaluating dollar and the constant upward travail of inflation will teach the final environmental lesson to the American population. The worlds resources are finite and must be conserved for human survival. Short of growing masses of super-poor Americans supporting an uber-class of ultra-rich Americans, all lifestyles must change. This does not mean suffering for all, this means a paradigm shift in values and goals. Those things that do not require massive misuse and waste of the earth’s resources will become highly prized and typical American foibles, like the V-8 gasoline engine, McMansions, and fellatio by consumerism, the shopping disease, if you will, have to drop into the gulf of ignorance, where they belong. The best of America will survive the coming energy crunch and its great depression. Those with conservative values, low consumptive habits and good education will rise and flourish in the days of $12.00+ gal gas ahead. Those who cannot resist spending on all that is shiny or goes vroom- vroom, will perish in the piles of recyclable baubbles, of starvation and debt. The new oil free world cannot afford the social extravagances of the past, and sloth, gluttony, and greed will give way to efficiency, good health and education. Survival in the 21st century will require more effort on the part of the capable human being, both the physically and mentally capable. All others will fall by the wayside in poverty and disgrace!

  • Tunturi_Exercise_Bike

    Please give me more information. I love it, Thanks again.

  • Hunter Outdoor Fans

    I'll post the same information to my blog, thanks for ideas and great article.

  • Hunter Outdoor Fans

    I'll post the same information to my blog, thanks for ideas and great article.

  • http://www.strongbodyworkout.com/ insanity

    These days, every little thing is so competitive and this causes strain. To deal with strain fitness plays an vital role. If you are healthy and fit, you effortlessly manage your anxiety. Most consumers are losing their weight to keep themselves fit and healthy. It’s extremely valuable for consumers to understand that being physically fit and being thin are not normally comprehensive.