UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into using electricity harvesting exercise equipment as a competition-based game Louie, Edmond; Tse, Gary; Chang, Hua; Smyth, Tom


This report investigates the feasibility of installing electricity harvesting exercise equipment as part of a display in the atrium of the new Student Union Building. This display’s purpose is to increase energy awareness, fit the exercise-needs of students, and produce renewable electricity. Three companies that provide electricity harvesting exercise equipment that are investigated in this report are ReRev, PlugOut, and Human Dynamo. After performing a triple bottom-line assessment, it is concluded that installation of electricity harvesting exercise equipment would promote physical fitness, be reasonable to implement, and work well with other displays in encouraging energy conservation awareness at the new Student Union Building. The PlugOut visCycle is chosen as the best option for implementation as it is economical, environmentally friendly, easily installable, and students surveyed have shown interest in stationary bikes over the elliptical machines or the human dynamo system. This report recommends that two PlugOut visCycles be purchased for integration into a display at the atrium of the new Student Union Building that allows students to race, keep track of the electricity they have produced, and keep track of the amount of carbon emissions that they have offset. A recommendation is also made that discounts at the new building’s vendors based on electricity generated be offered to students as an incentive. However, contacting vendors for particular discounts has been determined to be beyond the scope of this paper. Overall, this paper predicts a significant social impact, at a price much lower than other displays with similar goals such as the Pavogen step system currently being investigated for implementation. Surveys show a strong student interest in the implementation of the recommendations of this report, supporting its predicted success. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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