Improving communities through sport

Self-Powered Recreation Center: Is It Possible?

Woman Tries to Power Her Recreation Center with an Exercise Bike

The Economic Viability of a Self-Powered Recreation Center

In the last few years, the world has grown more and more conscious of the earth, and many people continue to search for sustainable, green energy solutions. Most green energies also give the added bonus of lowering bills and saving money. Recreation centers, sports complexes, and sports facilities are increasingly adding green capabilities in the form of solar panels. Even some professional sports teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco Giants, and the Boston Red Sox, have incorporated solar panels, solar thermal panels, and wind turbines to power different aspects of their stadiums. With all this green energy going around, what about exercise equipment working as generators? You already have tons of exercise bikes and treadmills in your recreation center. Can you put those to use?

The Efficiency of Exercise Equipment

Your recreation center might have an entire room of exercise bicycles with regulars fitness lovers pedaling away hour after hour. If you see this, you might ask yourself why you pay for electricity when so much energy goes unused right in front of you. We, at Sports Facilities Advisory, thought we’d break down for you the viability of generating electricity with exercise bicycles and other recreation center equipment.
Companies make treadmills and exercise bicycles equipped with converters. As your recreation center guests pedal away, these converters translate their work into electricity. You can then store this electricity in a battery. The problem comes when you figure in the energy lost. Converting work to electricity takes energy, producing batteries take energy, and exercise bicycles are not designed for maximum energy efficiency.

Mechanical Energy vs Electricity

When you pedal a bike or turn a hand crank or lift a weight, you are producing mechanical energy. If you step on your pedal and this pedal turns a wheel, this takes no conversion. Your mechanical energy is used to power a mechanical process. The only inefficiency in this process lies in the resistance in the bike chain or the gears. When you try to convert this power into electricity to power a battery, however, much of the mechanical energy put into pedaling gets wasted in the process. Experts speculate that an hour of intensive exercise translates to 100 watts, and they say the conversion to electricity drains between 40% and 70% of this energy. You could be looking at 30 watts per person per hour.

Can You Still Power Your Recreation Center on Exercise Power?

If you were hoping to disconnect your recreation center from the power grid, you should think again. But this doesn’t mean buying power-generating exercise equipment is a poor decision. Exercise bikes and treadmills with converters have come down in price in recent years, so you won’t lose any money on them. Most of this equipment generates enough electricity to power their screens and not lose any energy. A recreation center filled with treadmills, weight machines, and bikes with power converters might not give you the energy to be completely energy efficient. They will, however, pay for themselves then some. Advertising this green equipment will also help you attract more customer.

Rethink Your Recreation Center with Sports Facilities Advisory

Sports Facilities Advisory specializes in sports complex design, recreation center feasibility studies, and sports facilities planning. We understand the sports facility and recreation center market, and we work with you to meet your highest expectations. Contact Sports Facilities Advisory today to take your facilities to the next level.

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