go green
August 22, 2013

Gym-Powered Campus


Maggie: Do you ever wonder what happens to all that energy you expend when you work out? Well, Demetrius Pipkin checks out one school that is making that sweat work double time.

Sienna Wheeler: It’s very good to know that I’m actually doing something while I’m sweating.

Demetrius: Students and staff at Sacramento State in California are doing more than just shaping up when they step on an exercise machine. They are actually powering the campus.

Kate Costelo: The more that you challenge yourself and the higher intensity, the more electricity that you’re going to produce.

Demetrius: Nineteen elliptical machines in their gym are now hooked up to the campus power grid. And each student can track how much energy he or she is putting out simply by logging into the system. Their output shows up on this screen.

Gina Hagh: I was, like, working out and kind of watching the bulb. So, it’s pretty neat.

Demetrius: And this bulb lights up brighter the harder the students work out.

Costelo: A typical 30-minute workout is equal to about 10 minutes of powering a television and about 15 minutes of powering a ceiling fan.

Demetrius: And combined, these gym goers can be pretty powerful.

Costelo: On a typical day, we average 0.9-kilowatt hours, which is equivalent to about 3 hours of television, 19 hours of a computer laptop, or 4.5 hours of a ceiling fan.

Demetrius: A lot of schools and businesses are now using the LEED green building rating system, which measures how environmentally friendly your building actually is. Now, this four-level rating system goes from a basic certification to a platinum level, and it measures everything from how much water is wasted to the air quality indoors. And thanks to Sac State’s energy-producing elliptical machines, their gym has earned a gold rating.

The state of California has twice as many LEED projects than any other state in the country. It is all in an effort to produce buildings that are more energy efficient and that are safer for the environment by limiting the need for fossil fuels, like oil and coal, which many scientists say are the leading cause of climate change.

Gina: I feel like it’s kind of like your own mini motivation. You’re like, ‘Okay, cool, I’m going to turn the light on and see how bright I can make it for, you know, how long.’

Demetrius: The university also hopes it motivates students to become more aware of the other ways they can help the environment one step at a time.

Student: Every time I come now, I’m going to definitely make sure to log in so I can keep contributing.

Demetrius: Demetrius Pipkin, Channel One News.


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