GSB News and Notes: Bicycle for an Hour, Power Home for a Day; Canadian Open Goes Green; Land Rover BAR's BREEAM Excellent HQ


Ready for the weekend? Well, if you ride a bike for an hour, there’s now a way to power a home for a day. Seriously. The Canadian (golf) Open, now underway, pushes the green golf envelope. And 2017 America’s Cup challenger Land Rover BAR continues its stellar green-sports performance with the announcement that its state-of-the-art home base in Portsmouth, England received BREEAM Excellent (equivalent of LEED Gold or Platinum) Status. As you pack for the beach, make sure to bookmark and read your TGIF edition of GreenSportsBlog News & Notes.

Readers of GreenSportsBlog may remember our March 2016 story about the Bike Washing Machine–a stationary bike in the concept phase that will wash clothes through pedal power. That was cool.
Well, as cool as the Bike Washing Machine is, a bike that can power a home for 24 hours with only 1 hour of pedaling is even cooler.
Meet the Free Electric Hybrid bike, the brainchild of Manoj Bhargava, founder of the company that makes the popular energy-boosting supplement 5-hour Energy. Bhargava is committed to devoting much of his $4 billion net worth towards tackling some of the pressing issues of our time. So he launched and is funding Billions in Change. Its mission is to “save the world by creating and implementing solutions to the most basic global problems – water, energy and health. Doing so will raise billions of people out of poverty and improve the lives of everyone – rich and poor.”
The Free Electric Hybrid is one of the first projects coming to fruition from Billions in Change. Described as “small, light, and simple,” it is said to be able to supply a rural household’s electricity needs for 24 hours with a single hour of pedaling. Here’s how it works: A cyclist pedals the bike, which drives a flywheel, which then turns a generator and charges a battery, and, voilà, electricity. 

Manoj Bhargava NatGeo

Manoj Bhargava pedals his Free Electric Hybrid bicycle. One hour of pedaling is said to be able to power a rural home for 24 hours. (Photo credit: National Geographic)

While details on the manufacture and launch of the Free Electric Hybrid are not yet available, Bhargava plans to distribute 10,000 bicycles in a pilot program in India in 2016-2017, according to National Geographic.
Canada is on a roll, green-wise. After almost a decade long prime ministership of fossil fuel industry-friendly and climate change skeptic Stephen Harper, the country pivoted last November, electing Justin Trudeau, who earlier this week committed to push for carbon pricing legislation. Alberta, known as the Texas of Canada as it is home to oil-rich tar sands, already has its own carbon tax. In sports, the Edmonton Oilers are about to move into Rogers Place, the NHL’s first LEED certified arena. And this weekend’s RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario outside of Toronto will be, according to the organizers, the “the most sustainable Canadian Open to date.”
Key environmentally-friendly highlights include:

  • Power from 100 per cent renewable and green natural gas sources. Bullfrog Power^, a leader in clean power in Canada is supplying energy from a blend of wind and low-impact hydro. But what is “green natural gas,” you ask? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Not in this case: Bullfrog’s natural gas can be called “green” because is sourced from a ground-breaking methane-capture project in Quebec.
  • Carbon offsets: Title sponsor RBC is getting into the green act by offsetting the emissions associated with the use of diesel generators and event vehicles. 
  • Significant waste reduction: The tournament is not claiming Zero-Waste status, a la the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It is, however, taking significant steps to divert waste from the landfill, from the many well-marked recycling and compost bins to water filling stations to the donation of unused food to a local food bank.

Glen Abbey

Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, ON; site of the 2016 RBC Royal Canadian Open. (Photo credit: Glen Abbey Golf Club)

The course itself is its own green highlight: Since 2004, Glen Abbey has been certified as a sustainable golf course by Audubon International. Only five per cent of Canadian golf courses can say that. 
GreenSportsBlog fave Land Rover BAR makes yet another appearance, and for a great reason.
The UK’s challenger for the 2017 America’s Cup is now believed to be the first professional sports team in Great Britain to operate from a BREEAM# Excellent building. The team’s spectacular new 74,000 sq. ft home received the accolade just this week.

Opened in June 2015, the building is an homage to sustainable design in action:

  • Renewable Energy Partner Low Carbon installed 432 solar panels, covering 100% of available roof space. The panels generate 20% of the building’s electricity; the remaining 80% is supplied from off-site renewable sources.
  • The central atrium features a natural ventilation system; thus there’s no need for a mechanical ventilation system.
  • All offices have direct access to natural daylight courtesy of the building’s transparent roof, reducing demand for interior artificial light.
  • Oysters were saved from a nearby dredge site and relocated to protected oyster beds hosted on the team’s pontoon developed in partnership with MDL Marinas. This is helping to restart a viable population of oysters in the area.


The transparent roof lights the buildings’ atrium, providing natural light on every floor. (Photo credit: Harry KH/Land Rover BAR)

We’ll wrap up this post with a quote from Phil Ward, of the environmental consulting firm Couch Perry Wilkes, about what else: The Wrap, the building’s iconic symbol: “A gigantic fabric wrap has been applied to much of the building façade. Its translucency will still admit natural light to the interior, while reducing solar glare. It provides a layer of insulation, protecting the building fabric and retaining heat in winter like a coat.”

Aerial view of the Land Rover BAR home base, with “The Wrap” covering the lower left portion of the building. (Photo credit: Shaun Roster)
^ Bullfrog Power: What a great brand name!
# Think of BREEAM Excellent as the British equivalent of LEED Platinum or at least LEED Gold.


Please comment below!
Email us: lew@greensportsblog.com
Friend us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/greensportsblog
Tweet us: @GreenSportsBlog


The GSB Interview: Nick Mallos, Ocean Conservancy; Helping Sailing Teams Bring Attention to Plastic Ocean Waste Crisis

Previous article

Sustainability Thought Leaders on Green-Sports, Part 2: Jerry Taylor, Libertarian Lobbyist who Switched from Climate Change Denier to Fighter

Next article


  1. I’ve always wanted to power my coffee maker with a work out in my kitchen! Of course, I’d need a bigger apartment, but the fantasy holds up well when I further imagine generating electricity at the gym and earning the wattage for home. Like the idea?

  2. Love the idea, Candy! I’ve long figured that gyms should figure out a way to use the kinetic energy generated by its members.

  3. […] strong in 2016, particularly when it comes to cycling. In July, GreenSportsBlog featured the Free Electric Hybrid Bike that powers a home for 24 hours with only one hour of pedaling. A few months earlier, we […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Join our newsletter!

Enter your email to receive our newsletter.

Don't worry, we don't spam

Login/Sign up


Join our newsletter!

Enter your email to receive our newsletter.

Don't worry, we don't spam