Pedal to the Mettle

Retrofitted ellipticals burn calories and create energy.

by Lisa Munniksma

A 30-minute workout on an elliptical exercise machine can burn up to 310 calories and—if you’re using a machine retrofitted to generate electricity—can power a laptop for one hour or a compact fluorescent light bulb for two-and-a-half hours.

University of Oregon, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and James Madison University are among the most recent institutions to work with Renewable Revolution, a company that retrofits Precor elliptical machines to produce electricity. These universities join other places of higher education as well as fitness facilities that are creating energy as fitness buffs burn calories.

According to Renewable Revolution, its ReCardio system reroutes the energy that is being emitted as a heat byproduct. Simply put, instead of this heat raising temperatures inside the facility and causing air-conditioning units to work harder, the heat energy is converted from DC power to AC power. Each machine’s controller box allows the free electricity created to provide energy to the building’s electrical system.

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