Toning calves, saving energy

Toning calves, saving energy

Story by Debora Biasutti

Next time UW-Eau Claire student and spinning instructor Abby Hutcheson leads her class, she will not only make her students burn calories, but also burn less fossil fuels.

In a 24-3 vote, the Student Senate passed a bill on April 4 allocating $29,970.20 for the purchase of 22 Green Revolution generators to be installed in the indoor cycling bikes in the McPhee Strength and Performance Center.

The generators will transfer human energy generated from riding the stationary bikes to electrical energy that’s put back into McPhee’s electrical grid.

“It’s a win-win, because you are actually being productive while you are working out, not just for your body but for the environment, too,” Hutcheson said.

Student Senator William Beckfield, who voted against the bill, said that for being a business major and someone who owns a business, return of investment is very important and he couldn’t see it in this project.

“I think that a Green Revolution goal is a good thing,” he said. “But I didn’t think that the $30,000 we are spending for the 22 bikes was necessarily a proper allocation of those funds.”

But for University Recreation & Sport Facilities Director Vicki Reed, the Green Revolution goes beyond the return of investment. It will help change people’s habits to exercise more and become sustainable at the same time, she said.

“It’s really about changing the culture as much as anything else,” she said. “Changing the culture of people seeing that they can be proactive and sustainable.”

According to the Green Revolution website, a typical cycling class with 20 bikes creates 2.5 – 3 kilowatt-hour per session, which can generate power for 100 compact fluorescent lamps or central air for an hour.

The cycling room will have a monitor that will be able to track the total energy that is produced and potentially have it shown in other monitors around campus, too.

Environmental Endeavors Commission Director Ben Ponkratz agreed with Vicki and said that he thinks students will become more conscious about their health and possibly change their behavior regarding the environment.

“Change of behavior into … having students become more comfortable with biking and possibly translating into biking to campus as opposed to driving,” he said.

For Hutcheson, the Green Revolution will draw more attention to group exercise — it’s a great green initiative from the university, she said.

“I think this will be a cool incentive for people to come and work out more,” she said.

The generators will be installed May 4 and University Recreation and Sport Facilities is going to have demo bikes around campus during Earth Week, which kicks off April 18. To attend spinning classes, students have to purchase a $25 multiple class pass in Hilltop that is valid for a semester.