The Power of Sweating: New Cardio Machines Build Energy at USF

New cardio equipment at the USF Campus Recreation Center allows users to convert their training into electricity. USF is the first college or university in Florida to have 12 SportsArt ECO-POWR treadmills, ellipticals, and indoor bikes. Each hour-long workout can power a desktop computer for at least two hours. Users can track their progress with a digital leaderboard that displays real-time data on how much electricity students are generating on equipment.

“It’s nice to see USF taking action on cleaner energy overall,” said Parker Klay, fourth-year student and SportsArt elliptical trainer user. “We should have more. We have a very active student body and we should take advantage of it.

The machines are elegant and simple; no power-hungry TV monitors or motors that start the moves for you. As people power the machines, power is generated and supplied to the recreation center through a storage bank. The USF Recreation and Wellness Department received support from the USF Student Green Energy Fund (SGEF) to purchase the equipment, as the initiative aligned with USF’s commitment to sustainability by reducing energy consumption to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s a great experience for students and a chance for them to give back,” said USF Recreation and Wellness Director Jay Souza. “In the world of sustainability, these machines are pretty cool because it’s a tactile piece, and not only are you burning calories, but you’re helping offset our energy use.”

Energy-generating lineups and competitions using the new equipment are being planned. Depending on student feedback and additional support from SGEF, other USF recreation locations may receive sustainable amenities in the future.