A Light Workout


Some of my best friends enjoy going to the gym. They say they get a charge out of a good workout, a buzz from a good schvitz. I have to admit, though, I never was much of a gym rat. I mean, take a walk or ride a bike and go somewhere, do something. Exercise, to me, should be a value-add. Running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike seems kind of, well, like going nowhere.

That caveat aside, from where I sit (emphasis on “sit”), someone’s finally come up with a way to make workouts do some work. A company called ReRev is retrofitting cardio gym equipment to turn the kinetic motion of your aerobic workout into DC (direct current) power that feeds back into a building’s electrical system. The current is fed into a ReRev box where it’s converted into utility-grade AC (alternating current), the form of electricity our homes and businesses know and love. That’s free – working up a sweat aside – electricity with no maintenance required.

According to ReRev, the system can turn a typical 30-minute workout into 50 watt hours of clean electricity. That’s enough to power a laptop for an hour, charge your cell phone six times, or power a compact fluorescent light (CFL) for two and a half hours.

The system is installed at a growing number of facilities across the country, including venues at a bunch of universities, such as Florida, Kentucky, Chico State in Northen California, and Drexel in Philadelphia (pictured above). In fact, your gym could be ideal for a ReRev system, depending on its workout volume and amount of equipment.

And if you’re interested, the ReRev site has a nifty form you can fill out about your gym master (Is that what they’re called? I wouldn’t even know).

Scott Adelson

Scott Adelson is EcoSalon's Senior Editor of HyperKulture, a monthly column that explores opening cultural doors to initiate personal change. He is also the author of InPRINT, which reviews and discusses books, new and old. You can reach him at scott@adelson.org.