Local Health Club Turns Exercise Into Renewable Energy

COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — Every day millions of people go to gym and fitness centers to stay in shape. One company wondered if they could harness some of that energy being burned and turn it into electrical energy.

Mike Schuh reports on what they’ve come up with.

In most gyms the sounds of people working out can be heard, but at this gym, the sound of human power not being wasted can be heard.

In Columbia at the Athletic Club the people spinning are connected to a generator.

“They’re helping to power the building, the lights, the sound system and the heat, hot water,” said Mike Curnyn, Green Revolution.

The generator adds $500 to the bike.

“For a health club it’s a long-term payback, probably a 10-year payback,” said Curnyn.

The old bikes were worn out and they needed to be replaced anyway.

“We thought it was a chance to go all out for the cycle room and really make an impact on Columbia’s green initiatives,” said Leslie Flynn, Columbia Athletic Club.

Each person is producing enough energy to keep large light bulbs on for an hour.  Each cyclist sees how much power they’re making and so does the club. They track each minute, each day.

Some gyms have seen a spike in memberships as people seek out the bikes.

“I personally make a lot of choices in my life from the car I drive, to the products I purchase and I think they add up,” said Lynn Olson.

“It does. I’m a big person on recycling. It’s a way for me to give back while I work out,” said Juliette Smith, green spinner.

“I think these bikes are a great opportunity to start giving instead of taking,” said Olson.

Right now they’re designing generators for the rest of the equipment and some days as much as 25 percent of the gym’s energy usage could come from the members themselves.

By the end of the year that company hopes to have its generators in 500 gyms across the country.

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