Power Output of Healthier Americans: 3650 gWh/year

Using muscles to power our lives is not a new idea. In fact, it’s a really really old idea. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.

Especially since there’s probably a million people trying to burn off calories on treadmills all over the world at this very moment. And all those calories they’re burning are pretty much going to waste.

Well, almost all. There are actually a couple of gyms across  the world that are converting those burned kilocalories into usable kilowatts. TreeHugger recently wrote about the "California Gym" in Hong Kong, which uses juice generated from people running on treadmills to power the establishment’s lights.

But can this really help? Is it worth attaching generators to millions of treadmills and elliptical machines all over the world?

I think it may be time for some quick calculations.
50 watts per adult * 200 million adults in America * 1 hour of exercise per day * 1 billion watts per gigawatt * 365 days per year = 3650 gigawatt hours per year!

Solving the obesity epidemic and the energy crisis at the same time. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

The added cost to the treadmills would likely be a lot less than putting solar panels all over the roof of the gym and the power would be generated exactly when the establishment needs it. I can’t imagine this wouldn’t pay for itself relatively quickly.