Augmenting electricity output of ellipticals through behavioral change

Document Type


Publication Date



Electricity needs have increased dramatically in the United States over the last 40 years, and in Kentucky, most of these needs have been met through burning coal, contributing to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in amounts never-before-seen in human history. Initiatives for using more sustainable energy are being adopted by institutions and specific departments across the nation. Fitness centers are no exception. One initiative that can be beneficial in terms of clean energy as well as outreach involves encouraging patrons of fitness centers to use exercise machines that create electricity, harnessing the energy produced during their workouts. However, high start-up costs associated with these programs make their success highly dependent on a reasonable payback period. The study described in this article analyzed user behavior at the University of Kentucky (Lexington) Johnson Recreation Center from June 2011 through May 2013. The goal was to identify factors contributing to differences in electricity outputs in an effort to understand workout behavior and to make a more reasonable payback period for such programs. During the study, a promotional campaign, Burn to Earn, encouraged the usage of 16 Precor elliptical machines retrofitted with ReRev technology, which enables kinetic energy to be converted into electricity. Results indicate that the Burn to Earn program was successful in increasing usage of the Precor elliptical machines, mostly by users choosing to use these machines instead of other exercise equipment that had not been retrofitted. An increase in usage would translate into more energy converted and saved and thus a more reasonable payback period for the initial investment in the machines.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Sustainability (United States)

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.