The Greening of University Fitness Facilities

Ann McClure's picture

SportsArt Fitness

In what is expected to be a trend appealing to eco-conscious students attending higher education institutions in the U.S., Chapman University in Orange, CA, Michigan State University in Lansing MI, Tennessee Tech in Cookeville TN and the University of South Florida in St Petersburg FL have installed new exercise equipment for their students that generate electricity for the power grid.

With more universities providing courses on sustainability and green business (including Green MBA's) many are moving in the direction of appealing to potential students with "green" facilities, including fitness facilities.

Tennessee Tech goes Green-Tech for Student Fitness

Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, TN worked with three groups from the school - The Fitness Center, Facilities and Business Services and the Sustainable Campus Committee - to bring the Green System by SportsArt to Tennessee Tech as part of the campus' commitment to going green.

"Awareness is a huge part of it, but it's us doing what we can to aid that," Suzann Hensley, assistant director for campus recreation, said. "We use a lot of electricity in the fitness center and any time that we can do something that reduces that, that's what we need to do. This equipment was available to us, and we thought, 'Why not?'"

The former cardio room, now called the Green Room, has installed a combination of 16 ellipticals, recumbent cycles and upright cycles from the Green System to replace some of the older equipment, converting about 75 percent of energy generated by users back into the Fitness Center's electrical system as reusable energy. Each piece of equipment is connected to a DC voltage booster that sends the human-generated energy back into the building's power grid through inverters. A cluster of 10 Green System machines can convert up to 2,000 human watts of energy from exercisers every hour. Tennessee Tech will have two groups of machines, each connected to an inverter that is hard-wired into the electrical grid.

Keeping track of energy output and fitness

Students can buy, at minimal cost, EcoFit cards for the EcoFit system on each machine which registers data about students' energy output and fitness statistics, both from the current session and over time. Using this data, students can keep track of milestones they hit in wattage production.

Meanwhile, at Chapman University in Orange, California

The Henley Hall Fitness Center at Chapman University in Orange, California has also installed 14 Green System machines for their students. The power created by exercisers flows through an inverter that converts it into electricity and sends it to the grid, dramatically reducing the gym's energy consumption.

Even better, exercisers will soon be able to digitally connect their workouts to an online program and earn points for discounts on an array of sports and fitness products based on the amount of sweat equity they produce. Chapman is the first university to adopt the SportsArt Green System and the optional companion point system from their trading partner, EcoFit, which can display how much energy is being generated as well as how many calories have been burned. And, of course, students can post the latest stats on their workouts to their Facebook pages.

There are plans afoot to hold competitions among the clubs, campus departments and residence halls to see which team can generate the most electricity in a 20 minute time period.

About the Green System

SportsArt Fitness, an international manufacturer of high-end cardio and strength products, has launched their revolutionary Green System that allows facility owners to offset energy costs by feeding utility-grade electricity back into the grid. The system consists of a collection of up to 10 cardio units connected to an inverter that is hard-wired into the building's electrical system. As users exercise, the energy they produce is harnessed and fed back into the grid to offset power consumption within the building.

The newest innovation in exercise equipment that produces electricity

Anita Miller, Senior Product Manager for SportsArt Fitness, describes the Green System further: "The power inverter attached to the Green System is about the size of a stereo receiver and has a 208-240VAC plug that needs to be wired to the grid for safety. To operate the system, a person would simply start exercising. A booster box connected to each cardio machine harnesses the energy expended by the exerciser and funnels it to the inverter which converts it into electricity. This is the only system that is UL certified and offers the highest efficiency in the industry. In fact, the Green System is 2-3 times more efficient than most other "green" exercise equipment."

The Green System inverter converts up to 75% of the energy that is generated by exercisers into useable power. With more cardio machines linked to one inverter, power output is maximized. Up to 10 machines can be linked to one inverter, which has the capacity to convert up to 2,000 human watts per hour into utility-grade energy. Depending on how many groups of Green System Products a facility has installed, the energy cost savings can be significant.

The ECOFIT Networking System and Display

Networking Human Energy

The ECOFIT Networking System and Display can be used with the Green System for exercise equipment in clubs, fitness facilities, hotels, universities and schools. It shows users how much electricity they are producing on in-club digital media displays, allows for localized facility and environmental green messaging on the display screen and includes a points accumulation system for energy created by the user. These points can then be redeemed at the club or a hotel, university or school with fitness facilities - building brand loyalty and user loyalty for the facility. ECOFIT system users can also compare their points with other users in contests and competitions and share their stats via social media outlets.

About SportsArt Fitness

SportsArt Fitness is an industry leader in the design and manufacture of high quality cardiovascular and strength equipment for home and commercial use. SportsArt retains control over every aspect of component design and the overall manufacturing process ensuring proper integration, maximum performance and longer product life. SportsArt Fitness holds TUV and ISO 9001/9002 quality certifications and hundreds of worldwide patents for their innovations. For more information on the SportsArt Fitness brand and their latest products visit us on the web at