Finally!Â I have had this idea for years and it looks like its starting to catch on.Â Read on:by Nicole Santa Cruz, The Oregonian
People will do more than burn energy at a gym set to open Sept. 1 on Northeast Alberta Street. They’ll also create it.
At the Green Microgym, human energy will be harnessed from fitness bikes and converted to electricity.
Owner Adam Boesel hopes the gym eventually will run solely on the energy it generates. Boesel, 37, says the gym will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and a good fit in eco-conscious Portland.
Globally, it will join Hong Kong’s California Fitness gym, where exercisers power lights and batteries, and London nightspot Club Surya, where a dance floor converts movement into energy.
Dave Erwin, an environmental studies professor at Portland State University, says that as energy prices soar, more people are concerned about how they affect the environment. People “are trying to turn an energy shortage into an asset,” he says. “It’s a fascinating concept.”
Like other fitness centers, the 2,800-square-foot Green Microgym will have treadmills, bikes and elliptical trainers. But the treadmills, with energy-efficient motors, will use 30 percent less power than normal machines.
And four spin bikes — stationary bikes that don’t use electricity — will produce 200 to 600 watts of energy an hour, says Mike Taggett of Texas, who developed them. Four or five other spin bikes in the gym will be attached to generators Boesel developed. All will feed a battery bank that can be tapped for the gym’s electricity needs, though the power generated will be modest at first.
Other green features? A yoga room with cork flooring and local artwork. Solar-panel awnings. Energy-efficient ceiling fans. And no showers, to save on water-heating costs.
Boesel, a former grade-school teacher, became a personal trainer four years ago out of a desire to see more immediate results and live a healthy lifestyle. Now, he says, “I get rewarded for how hard I work and for how smart I work.”
For Alberta-area residents, the gym’s environmental friendliness is a definite draw, but they’re more excited about it being in the neighborhood.
“For me, it’s like, wow, there’s a gym at the end of my street,” says Jackie Yerby, a new member. She calls it a “no-excuses gym” because distance won’t be a factor in whether she works out.
DeAnna Bellamy, a Green Microgym personal trainer who just moved to Portland from Chicago, says the facility is “an evolution of gyms.”
“You go to a gym to get healthy. If you can make the Earth healthy as well, you’re kind of killing two birds with one stone.”
— Nicole Santa Cruz; [email protected]