While it may not appear to be so - Thanks to all the equipment and television screens, not to mention the bright lights, constant air-conditioning or heating, gyms are big energy users - A little ironic when you consider how much energy people expand whilst working out. Though there has been some sporadic attempts to harness the energy, nobody has taken it to the level of Portland-based Green Microgym.
The gym, whose mission is to help people not only look good, but also do good whilst exercising, is equipped with specially configured exercise bicycles that captures the energy created while pedaling and channels it to outlets which power other equpment in the gym.
The 3,000 sq.ft. facility does not give its 200 plus members any discounts for the energy they help generate, but they do give out bragging rights in the form of green cards, which, depending on the watts of energy generated, helps members earn gift cards from local merchants.
The gym estimates that an average workout generates about 37.5 watt hours just enough, to power a phone for a week. Despite all the energy generated by its members and additional green energy captured by the Solar Panels that line its roof, the gym is not completely carbon neutral, which means it still depends on conventional electricity. But, according to the owner, if all the equipment inside the gym is used at the same time, it can generate 10 times the energy needed to run the entire facility, at that given moment.
As Green Microgym gets ready to open its second location, many other gyms in America are following it's lead by installing machines that harness the human energy that gets generated vigorously inside their premises every day.
Sources: Treehugger.com, Inhabitat.com