To expand the use of stationary workout bicycles that generate electricity in college/university gyms across America
In 2010, 34% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. were emitted by the electricity sector (EPA 2011). One growing use of electricity is for powering electric workout equipment. By harvesting the kinetic energy generated by these machines and converting it to electricity, we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions from alternative methods of generating electricity. The exact amount of emissions reductions varies depending on the size of the gym, but switching over to this technology could reduce each gym’s carbon dioxide emissions by at least 5,000 lbs of CO2 per year. This is equivalent to the amount of CO2 emitted by a single-occupant car driven 20 miles per day for 50 weeks. If all college gyms make the switch to this type of equipment, the energy savings will add up.
How can we incentivize campus gyms to invest in this green machinery? By creating partnerships between the gyms and companies like PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company who are willing to sponsor green initiatives in their communities. The key benefits of this initiative align with values of The Coca-Cola Company’s “Active Healthy Active Living” community investment initiative, which gives grants to 501(c)(3) organizations that use innovation to promote a physically active, environmentally conscious lifestyle. PepsiCo Foundation gives grants to organizations that value environmental sustainability, innovation, and healthy lifestyles.
Two companies lead the nation in retrofitting workout machines so that they generate electricity: ReRev and The Green Revolution. These companies operate with “plug in” systems in which the generated electricity is converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) and fed back into an electrical outlet. This electricity is used to power other gym items, such as lights, before more electricity is taken from the grid.
Category of the action
What actions do you propose?
-Apply for grants from PepsiCo or The Coca-Cola Company and develop relationships between these companies and college/university gyms
-Retrofit existing gym equipment so that the machines generate electricity that can be used to power lights in the gym
-Educate gym users about electricity conservation by making transparent how much energy their workout machinery is generating. The Green Revolution has developed a web app that enables gym-users to track online how much electricity they generate during each workout. Personal displays can also be purchased for each piece of equipment so that users can monitor their electrical output throughout their workouts.
Who will take these actions?
-Deans of finance and gym administrators at private colleges/universities across America
-The Coca-Cola Company or PepsiCo Foundation
-ReRev or The Green Revolution
-Students and other college/university gym members who use the workout equipment
Where will these actions be taken?
Private college/university gyms
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
What are other key benefits?
Retrofitting workout bicycles to generate electricity will reduce gym electricity bills. The electricity generated by the workout equipment can be used to power gym lights.
A major component of this initiative is an educational campaign that touts the benefits of physical exercise and the importance of electricity conservation. An educational campaign will encourage students and other members of the gym community to live healthier, physically active lifestyles. The habits that students create in college will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Since students will be aware of this green technology, they will be more inclined to seek out gyms that use this technology when they are looking to join a gym after college. These machines will also increase people’s consciousness of their energy consumption. When people know how much electricity their workouts are generating, they will better understand the importance of conserving electricity.
What are the proposal’s costs?
Retrofit existing exercise equipment: $1,000-$1,300 per piece of equipment
Retrofitting these workout machines is a relatively simple process so assuming that the colleges receive funding for the projects (either from their institutions or through grants from sponsor companies like PepsiCo), all stationary exercise bicycles in university gyms could be retrofitted within 1-2 years. The educational component would be instituted immediately after the installation of the retrofitted equipment at each gym, and it would continue until the technology of the workout equipment evolves and is made more efficient.
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