Ah, college life. It’s filled with some great times and then some harsh realities. One bleak wakeup call is: pizza and beer plus no sleep equals extra pounds. We’ve all been there. (But then we learn self-regulation, discover how to prepare healthy, organic food, and learn to create our own daily exercise routine, right?) Well, one college campus is actually using students’ exercise regimens to help harvest energy and fuel the campus.
Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT, recently created and launched the YouPower bike room. The bike room was created by Astrid Schanz-Garbassi, a 2012 Middlebury college graduate.
The bike room is equipped with 11 Star Trac Pro Spinner Bikes. Each bike has an alternator (built by The Green Revolution, a Connecticut company.) According to the Grist article “Bike til it hertz: College kids spin out campus electricity,” the alternators are connected to an inverter box that puts the “biked” energy back into the campus’ energy system.
College students teach all of the YouPower spinning classes. Classes are typically once a day, or twice a week (depending on the time of year.) Also: Students can drop by the room when they want for about three hours a day, everyday. The energy the students produce is monitored and projected on a flat-screen television at the front of the bike room. According to Grist, on average, a single student can generate between 100-250 watts.
While the student cyclists can’t power the building yet, and the project hasn't “made back” what’s been put into it, the room is an incredibly useful educational tool that teaches students about alternative energy.
Imgae: Ben Alford