Exercisers generate electricity at Mesa State facility

Chuck Gorby churns electricity on one of eight machines that produce electrical current in the Hamilton Recreation Center at Mesa State College.

People working out on one of eight specially equipped exercise machines at the Mesa State College Hamilton Recreation Center can help power the Maverick Center building while burning calories.

The cross-training machines, also known as ellipticals, were hooked up last week and are marked by signs on the head of the machines. When a person exercises on one of the ellipticals, the churning machine generates electricity. A 30-minute workout can produce enough electricity to power a laptop computer for an hour. The more resistance a person opts for during a workout, the greater the electrical output.

But the machines aren’t designed to power laptop computers. The energy helps power the building. The exercisers’ energy produces direct electrical current, which is converted to alternating current that can be used for the electric system in the building.

The machines won’t pay the entire electric bill, said Michael Wells, director of campus recreation services.

“But we’re doing our part,” Wells said.

Colleges in at least 10 other states use the same ReRev brand technology that is used at the Hamilton Recreation Center to generate alternative energy in their fitness centers, but Wells said Mesa State is the first college in Colorado to implement the technology. It’s a system he’d like to expand. The center hopes to add bikes, stair climbers and adaptive-movement training machines to the grid by late summer or early fall, Wells said.

Balaun Squires, a Mesa State senior who works at the recreation center, said people often ask her whether the machine is working, because the energy conversion is not noticeable to the person exercising. Squires said she likes the money savings involved in having a special way to power the building.

“I think most schools should do it,” she said.

Sharaya Selsor, a Mesa State sophomore, tried out the machine Friday.

“I think it’s a good cause. We might as well double (the machine’s) uses,” she said.


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