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Energy-harnessing equipment makes lasting impact on recreation centers

The introduction of energy-efficient SportsArt equipment to Jesse Owens South and the RPAC has brought a new meaning to burning off fuel at the gym.

The new state of the art equipment cost roughly $25,000 and features treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes which allow users to generate energy back into the gym, according to Undergraduate Student Government Chief of Staff Zayn Dweik. These machines have cut down on energy use and the costs that come with it since their introduction in July.

“Instead of having to pay for electricity, part of that is being directly used from the people on the equipment and they’re plugged into an outlet that feeds directly back into the system,” Dweik, a fourth-year in economics and psychology, said. “So instead of having to pay for that electricity, you’re getting that energy directly from the people on the equipment.”

Dweik said he came up with the idea of a sustainable gym as a part of the $50,000 granted for sustainable initiatives on campus by Ohio State’s private partnership with ENGIE North America and Axium Infrastructure. After pairing up Recreational Sports with the USG sustainability committee, his dream became a reality.

“I’ve been investing a lot of time, energy and effort into this thing and here it is,” Dweik said. “It’s a very small first step, but it’s significant and in the right direction and that feels so good.”

Students can now look forward to tracking not only their mileage and calories burned while working out, but also how many watts they’ve generated on a SportsArt machine.

“I think the problem with sustainability is it’s tough to feel the tangibility and the difference you make,” Dweik said. “With this equipment, you see how many watts you’ve generated and get to say ‘I’m helping out the University, helping out the environment, and helping out my body.’”

Dweik explained that the technology for this equipment is still in its preliminary phases as it only harnesses about three-quarters of human energy from each user.

“The main benefit is not the direct energy impact that it makes but the hope is that it’s sort of a foot in the door,” Dweik said. “It’s not enough to power the whole gym yet, which is the ultimate dream to me, but the technology is here and there’s upgrades, and we’ll upgrade with it since we’ve already invested in the initial technology.”

Fazwa Mohamed Juhari, a Recreational Sports facility assistant, said that she has noticed people opting to use the energy-efficient machines instead.

Going forward, Dweik said he would like to see more of the SportsArt machines in the gym to move toward a fully sustainable gym.

“I would like to see how well this goes and invest the other $25,000 in a new set,” Dweik said. “We could put them up north or as old equipment gets shifted out.”

Video by Katie Hamilton

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