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Calories to Kilowatts demos people power


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The WELL, Sacramento State’s fitness and wellness center, has retrofitted 19 Precor elliptical fitness cross-trainers with small circuit boards to convert human workouts into energy that is fed directly to the building’s electrical grid.

Calories to Kilowatts

A typical 30-minute workout can produce 50 watt-hours, which would be enough clean, carbon-free electricity to power a laptop for an hour or a desktop computer for 30 minutes. WELL members can track their energy production over time.

“Our goal is education – letting our students know how much energy can come from burning calories – and continuing our overall vision of environmental wellness,” says assistant director Kate Costello. “In the first two months after installation, we harnessed 105 kilowatt/hours (kwh), which is enough energy to power 30 homes for one hour.”

The Sac State campus community had a chance work up a sweat and make a little electricity during The WELL’s Calories to Kilowatts open house at 12:15 and 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 9. SMUD sponsored the event.

The WELL – Wellness, Education, Leisure, Lifestyle – combines health and fitness under one roof. The 151,000-square-foot facility opened in September 2010 as part of President Alexander Gonzalez’s Destination 2010 initiative. The building later was awarded a LEED Gold certification for its energy-saving features.

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Office of Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156.

– Dixie Reid