The Effectiveness of Energy Generating Exercise Equipment for Energy Conservation Education

EPA Grant Number: SU833153
Title: The Effectiveness of Energy Generating Exercise Equipment for Energy Conservation Education
Investigators: Harris, Clifford , Cawood, John , Eggleston, Mike , Game, Catherine , Hashimoto, Adam , Lewis, Will , Mandrekar, Kapil , Meyerholt, Becky , Simons, Dylan
Current Investigators: Harris, Clifford , Cawood, John , Eggleston, Mike , Fellows, Mallory , Game, Catherine , Hashimoto, Adam , Lindberg, Jason , Mandrekar, Kapil , Morris, Deanna , Short, Jason , Simons, Dylan , Tauzer, Erica
Institution: Albion College
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: May 14, 2007 through June 1, 2008
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Energy , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The lack of effective energy conservation education and interest regarding alternative energy sources on Albion College’s campus illustrates a common problem among American university campuses. The purpose of this study is to integrate both education and renewable energy sources into a program designed to educate college students on energy conservation and consumption. Through the technical development of an energy generating and storing exercise system, student participants will utilize workout equipment to generate their own body energy into stored energy for electrical use. Students will pledge to consume (on a given appliance of their choice) for the weekend only as much energy as they produced exercising the prior week. In addition to this educational participation, the equipment and concepts will be integrated into an exercise science laboratory to study human energy output, a sustainable living class as a renewable energy learning objective, and the college’s Environmental Institute as an outlet for the member to learn effective environmental education strategies.

The results will be measured under two categories. First, the actual efficiency of the exercise machines in regard to human energy output will be logged and calculated in order to improve the design. Second, the effectiveness of the system as an energy education tool will be analyzed through pre and post usage surveys.

The research design offers several beneficial aspects regarding sustainability of the planet, people, and prosperity. By utilizing an alternative energy source, nonrenewable energy source usage is reduced. The materials allow for otherwise obsolete exercise equipment to be recycled. In addition to encouraging fitness and exercise, the study offers participants the opportunity gain a greater understanding of their own energy usage and the amount of work required for its generation. The exercise system even exemplifies a value system for energy which may be developed in an economical context. By allowing participants to physically engage in the energy generating system, they will gain an interactive comprehension of the importance of energy.

Supplemental Keywords:

Sustainability, exercise, stationary bicycle, rowing machine, generator, battery, spindle, sprocket, energy, electricity, storage, education, prototype, Albion College, human energy source, environment, conservation, renewable, non renewable, research,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, education, environmental sustainability, exercise, energy efficiency, energy technology, alternative energy source, energy storage, environmental education

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • Final Report