News and Notes

Energy-Producing Gyms, Braves Not-Green New Ballpark, Green-Sports Israeli-Style


How cool would it be if some of the energy expended at gyms were turned into electricity? We investigate that sweaty question and more in today’s GSB News and Notes.




I’ve often thought, while working out at the gym in a vain attempt to achieve even 1.5-pack abs, that the kinetic energy we worker-outers generate should somehow be stored and used to power the gym. ESPN even riffed on this notion in a fantastic and famous This Is SportsCenter ad featuring Lance Armstrong (pre-epic-fall) powering their studios.

Well, “sweat-energy to electricity” dream is now a reality. Peter Moore, writing in last Wednesday’s issue of The Guardian (London), highlighted some examples:

  • The Club and Spa at Cadbury House near Bristol in the west of England was “the first health club in the world to install the Artis Renew (made by TechnoGym of Italy) range of sustainable exercise machines,” including exercise bikes, treadmills, and resistance apparatus.
  • The Green Microgym in Portland, OR (surprised it’s Portland? I didn’t think so!) reduced its carbon footprint to about a tenth of a traditionally run gym per square metro with the help of Artis Renew.


artis renew

Exercisers generate kinetic energy on TechnoGym’s Artis Renew equipment. That kinetic energy is converted to electricity which helps to power the gym. (Photo credit: Daily Mail UK)


Despite the advances in sweat-generated electricity, Moore rightly points out that the energy generated at gyms “isn’t going make coal shareholders break [a] sweat.” Still, powering a gym’s LED lighting system and charging cell phones by harvesting the energy from the Artis Renew is nothing to sneeze at. And, charging those phones would have the added benefit of reducing the amount of annoying cell phone chatter at the gym.

Perhaps the biggest contribution made by sweat-energy-capturing systems is increased awareness on the part of gym members of the importance of energy conservation. Moore, with an assist from Philip Mawby, Professor of Electrical and Electronic Stream at the University of Warwick (Coventry, UK), makes the point that, “through active engagement [gym] members are forced to acknowledge the physical value of energy and the cost of expanse of its wastage.”



GreenSportsBlog has criticized Sun Trust Park, the new home of the Atlanta Braves set to open for the 2017 season, as bucking the green stadium construction trend. In fact it “won” our “Least Green Stadium Project” award of 2014. If you want to find out about the greenness of the ballpark’s construction and/or operation, a visit to the stadium’s website would be a waste of your time as there is nothing there. And the ballpark’s location in suburban Cobb County means there will be a lack of suitable mass transit options, a huge black mark since the biggest source of a sports event’s carbon emissions is fan transportation to-and-from the games.

So we read with interest–and plenty of skepticism–the story from The Marietta Daily Journal’s Ricky Leroux, that the Braves want the new stadium to “be environmentally friendly.” Mike Plant, the Braves’ Executive Vice President of Business Operations, told Leroux that work is ongoing to install a sophisticated 30,000 gallon suction/irrigation system on-site. When heavy rain results in standing water on the grass playing surface, Leroux quotes Plant as saying that “we’ll suck the surface water out of the field, it goes into a filtration system and an irrigation tank and we’ll reuse that water to irrigate the field.” Sun Trust Park will also feature energy efficient LED lighting and game staff apparel made from recycled plastic.

The Braves are working to gain LEED-Certified status for Sun Ttrust Park. “LEED Certified” is the lowest LEED rating level the US Green Building Council offers and the club is not committing to attaining that status, only to “evaluat[ing] the cost of building the stadium to fit the standards for that certification.”

So we are glad the Braves are taking the green steps mentioned above. We don’t want to be green scolds. But we gotta tell it like it is: The Braves’ moves seem basic, cost-of-doing-green-business, baby steps. There’s nothing in Leroux’ piece that shows sustainable innovation or leadership on the part of the Braves. And Sun Trust Park’s location kind of makes any claims of greenness hard to swallow. Especially when the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium is going green with gusto downtown.



The Jerusalem Post and other outlets reported recently that Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, the 34,000 seat home of the Israel National Soccer Team, is going to install a solar system that will be situated on the beams that encircle the stadium above the stands. It will generate up to about a million kWh of electricity per year, enough to power the stadium completely on days when there are no matches. Grid power will add to the solar-generated electricity to keep the lights on on match days. Going solar will save the city about $100,000 annually.

Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said “We are pleased to combine sports with sustainability and green energy, and make Teddy Stadium the first sports facility in the country running on solar energy.” Installation of the solar panels is set to begin in July with completion expected by the end of 2015.


Teddy Stadium

Aerial view of Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium, home of the Israel National Soccer Team. A solar system will be installed starting in July that will generate 1 million kWh of electricity and save the city $100,000 annually. (Photo credit: Univercol).



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