Green-News: Tuesday 9.2.08

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 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…

…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.

Buying direct from warehouses
Bricks and mortar stores are usually incredibly energy and resource hungry. All the lighting, air conditioning, elaborate stands to catch your eye. When you shop online, often your order will be fulfilled via a warehouse that doesn't have all the glitzy gimmicks and fixtures.

Greener products, more choices
While many supermarkets are now stocking more environmentally friendly lines, some products just don't seem to be carried yet - you can usually find these online. The online world also gives you wider access to smaller businesses run by very environmentally conscious people who are genuinely striving to make a difference - it's great to support these folks.

Product research
Even if you don't like the idea of purchasing something sight unseen; the Internet can save you a great deal of time, money and resources by doing your initial research online. For example, looking to buy an energy efficient washing machine? You can read bundles of reviews posted online by people who have purchased the brands and models you're interested in. The Internet helps you to make a more informed purchase decision on green products; rather than just relying on an in-store sales person's knowledge.

  • Rising fuel prices have claimed another victim, schoolchildren. Many schools are stopping or cutting back on bus service in order to cut costs, meaning more and more kids will have to huff it to school. Henry and Jessie L. Bonner of Forecast Earth report:
Health advocates long have encouraged students to walk, stressing the fitness benefits. But school and transportation officials say they fear that abruptly reducing bus service could lower attendance rates, increase traffic congestion or endanger students if they cannot walk on sidewalks and crosswalks.

"If you remove a school bus from the road, you're adding 40 to 50 cars in the morning and in the afternoon," said Bob Riley, spokesman for the American School Bus Council, which represents school transportation officials.

Major cuts loom in California, where schools are not required to provide transportation to campus. As a result, districts squeezed by fuel prices and fewer state dollars are trimming millions from transportation budgets.

The Capistrano United School District in Orange County, for example, has eliminated 44 of its 62 bus routes to save an estimated $3.5 million, district spokeswoman Julie Hatchel said. The cuts will affect an estimated 5,000 students from kindergarten to high school.

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Steve - September 2, 2008 9:01 AM

Once again putting on my engineer's hat, watts (power) is ALREADY a rate, 600 watts per hour makes no sense (unless you are talking about an increase in the power output over this time, which is unlikely). These articles that talk about exercise equipment generating power always make this exact same fundamental error. Coincidence? ;-)

Steve - September 2, 2008 2:01 PM

Hi Gerry, great question. Let's do a back of the paper napkin calc. Let's make a reasonable assumption that the "per hour" part is the error, and that these bikes can stuff 200-600 watts into the batteries (this is very reasonable on the lower end, even an old guy like me can probably generate a third of a horsepower (250 watts) for a 20 minute workout. The gym has 4 bikes, if there is a continuous flow of people getting on the bikes, that is a good 800-1000 watts of power. The gym is 2800 square feet, this is a room say 50 by 50 feet. This is 25 little 10x10 rooms worth of area. This would allow one 40 watt fluorescent bulb per 10x10 "room". It would probably be a bit dim, but not unreasonable. If you got young fitter people on the bikes that would make it easier. My conclusion? It would not provide all the power needed (winter heating, running the blenders to make protein shakes ;-), but not a bad contribution. Perhaps there are other readers that have specific experience here that could provide a more accurate answer, but these calcs provide a starting point.


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