Fitness Center Turns Exercise Into Electricity

By Jonathan Lloyd and Mary Parks
|  Thursday, Sep 3, 2009  |  Updated 5:32 PM CDT
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People Power Drives Health Club

NBCLA.com

It's an electrifying workout.

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People Power Drives Health Club

People power a health club in San Bernardino.
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How many students does it take to power a light bulb?

Just one, if that student works out on an elliptical machine at the Cal State San Bernardino fitness center.

Like fit hamsters in power-generating wheels, the exercisers actually provide the center's power. It's the first California school to convert human exercise into electricity.

"The harder they work out and the longer they work out, they'll generate more electricity," said Rick Craig, director of recreation.

Each elliptical machine generates about 100 watts of power per hour. The electricity flows to a power grid, which is located in a fitness center closet.

A 30-minute workout can power a laptop for about a half hour. The same workout can power a flourescent bulb for 90 minutes.

"I think it's really good idea," said student Sara Calderon. "We might as well be generating clean energy. We're all here to get our energy and relax. Obviously there are a lot of health benefits."

The equipment cost the school less than $15,000.

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