CSU, Chico News

Recreation Center Exercise Machines Retrofitted to Produce Electricity

Date: 06-02-2010

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC) will be retrofitting 25 exercise machines this month so that users will generate electricity for the facility’s power grid during their workouts.

The project, dubbed “ReCardio our WREC,” will involve 25 of the 29 current Precor elliptical machines that are in the WREC. Installation of the retrofitting equipment will take place Wednesday, June 9, and Thursday, June 10.

Once retrofitted, a single machine can produce 50 watt hours of electricity during a 30-minute workout. In one week the 25 ellipticals combined have the potential to create 265 kilowatt hours of energy for the WREC.

Included in the retrofit will be monitors showing how much kinetic energy is being converted by each machine.

The company contracted to do the retrofitting is ReRev.com, LLC, based in Florida. Other schools that have installed energy-producing exercise machines include University of Oregon, Oregon State, University of Florida, University of Kansas, University of Kentucky and CSU, San Bernardino. Once the retrofit is complete, only one school, Texas State University, will have more energy-producing ellipticals than CSU, Chico.

WREC employee and CSU, Chico student Joel Ramirez wrote a proposal to the Associated Students last year to have the $19,500 project funded. The proposal was accepted and the cost was split between the Sustainability Fund Allocation Committee and the Bell Memorial Union Committee.

The WREC has a number of other energy efficient and sustainable features, including a solar-heated pool, recycled material used in construction, insulation and furnishings, and wood products used in exercise rooms and basketball courts that are Forest Stewardship Council certified.