This story was originally published in Multifamily Executive.
Fitness equipment is beginning to go green with the introduction of SportsArt’s Eco-Powr line, which harnesses human energy generated during workouts and feeds it back into the building’s energy grid.
Multifamily developers will be able to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprints with the addition of the equipment, according to the company.
Offered in upright cycles, recumbent cycles, ellipticals, treadmills, and cross trainers, the Eco-Powr line works by converting human energy into electricity through a micro-inverter embedded in the machines. The inverter harnesses power generated by the user at a certain resistance and transforms the direct current (DC) into an alternating current (AC) that will be available to use by the grid.
“The technology went through a couple of interesting developments,” says Ivo Grossi, CEO of SportsArt. “Initially, the technology was outside of the equipment and retrofitted with boxes that were able to convert DC electricity into AC.”
After the product’s initial stages, the company had to focus on integrating the “bulky and cumbersome” technology into the fitness equipment. Plus, over the past year and a half, SportsArt has completely redesigned the outside of the equipment, and, now, the machines look exactly like what is typically seen in fitness centers.
“We really like to think of ourselves, with all humbleness, as the Tesla of the fitness industry,” says Grossi, drawing a parallel between the Eco-Powr line and the evolution of battery-electric cars.
The treadmill in the line is especially unique because it is motorless and thus doesn't consume energy to operate. According to the company, this is the first treadmill of its kind in the fitness industry, and the firm was awarded a patent for the technology four months ago.
There’s also no need to have an outlet for each piece of equipment: Up to six machines can be daisy-chained into one outlet, says SportsArt.
“The output of power varies on the frequency,” says Grossi. As a result, SportsArt created a calculator to give ball-park estimates of how much wattage and money specific developers could potentially save. With a gym containing four treadmills, two ellipticals, two upright cycles, and two recumbent cycles that are used for 12 hours a day, every day for a year, a developer could save $835.68 annually while generating 7.14 million watts of energy (see chart, left).
Although its machines are new to the market, SportsArt reports that some multifamily developments in Texas and New York have already incorporated the commercial-grade equipment into their projects. The machines come equipped with a full warranty and range in price from $5,000 to $7,000.
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