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August 30, 2012

Green System and EcoFit Tie 'Power Walking' to the Grid-and to Rewards



Going to the gym can turn your body into a finely tuned machine, so why not realize benefits—other than health and well-being—from all of the energy you are expending?  

Since March, members of the Victoria Athletic Club in British Columbia, Canada, have been able to convert their power pedaling and power walking into electricity, while earning points to redeem for discounts and other offers from local businesses. The club, located in the Hotel Grand Pacific, was the first to offer the new Green System from Woodinville, Washington-based SportsArt Fitness—a suite of stationary bikes and elliptical machines that harness energy output by creating electricity that can be fed into the power grid.

Historically, some companies have tried retrofitting existing gym equipment to harness some of the energy produced by gym users, but the SportsArt equipment is the first to be designed especially for this purpose. The Green System has another very important attribute: It is the only electricity-producing exercise equipment to receive cETLus certification. (The ETL mark is proof of product compliance to North American safety standards; the “c” and the “us” surrounding the mark represent Canada and the United States.)

The Victoria Athletic Club has installed two pods of 10 machines and expects that it will save approximately $3,000 in electricity costs per year. “We’re thrilled to be the pilot program for this new equipment,” said Reid James, general manager of the Hotel Grand Pacific. “When we heard about it, we just thought that it made sense. As a business, we’re always looking at ways to reduce our environmental impact, and we know our members and guests do, too. But more than that, we loved that we could also reward our gym users for helping us reduce our footprint.”


Image via of SportsArt Fitness

Anita Miller, senior product manager for SportsArt Fitness, describes the Green System further:,“Power generated by human pedaling is sent to an inverter and then to the power grid of the building (see video). The energy generated through the Green System Products will reduce the building’s energy consumption and, therefore, reduce overhead to the gym. One inverter is capable of linking a maximum of 10 Green System products and produces up to 2,000 Watt-hours of power. Depending on how many pods of Green System products a facility has installed, the energy cost savings can be significant. The more you install, the more savings you will see. Great for health, the environment and the pocket book.”

EcoFit, based in Victoria, B.C. has partnered with SportsArt to provide a system that motivates and engages exercisers using the new machines. Equipment users receive an EcoFit card, which they then drop into the cup holder on the equipment to start their sessions. On the machine’s display, they can track their energy output and fitness statistics both from their current session and over time; challenge other gym users, and, ultimately, earn EcoPoints that they can then redeem for discounts and offers within the Hotel Grand Pacific and at other local businesses.

EcoFit system users also can compare their points with those of other users in competitions. The system is fully integrated with social media, includes accessible personal workout data (using the member’s email address as the ID) and includes convenient iPhone (News - Alert) applications.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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