Increasing use of recreational activities in sustaining a healthy lifestyle has driven the turnout for public sports clubs as well as private gymnasiums. With gym memberships soaring through the roof, maintenance of gym equipment, particularly the electric ones, becomes laborious. On top of that, higher electricity consumption of such equipment translates burgeoning bills for gym owners. To reduce the toll of share of gym and wellness centers on overall power consumption of a community, photovoltaic power generation is being considered for redirecting heat-generated power. With global gym equipment market revenues projected to grow at 4.9% CAGR through 2022, manufacturers are focusing on cashing in on the growing opportunities in this landscape.

According to recent news, an innovative recreational center has been opened in Switzerland, and is slated to gain global recognition for claiming to be a self-powered gym. This new facility is said to be equipped with fitness equipment that can run on power generated by a series of photovoltaic cells.

Specialists and researchers from Switzerland have come up with this ground-breaking concept of “self-powering” a gym. According to the reports, the new exercise & wellness center developed by Swiss researchers runs entirely on solar energy and energy generated by mechanical working of fitness equipment such as treadmills and bikes.

Being a first-of-its-kind facility across Switzerland, the health center is a part of an even bigger building project called the NEST, a recreational scheme that will be thoroughly upgraded with innovative technological solutions as such. The NEST project is taking place at the EMPA (Federal Laboratory of Material Testing & Research) campus in Switzerland.

This new gym facility in built within the research institute campus is being coined as the Solar Fitness & Wellness Unit, and has been in operation at the EMPA campus in Dübendorf, Zurich from early-August, 2017. The facility contains a steam bath, two saunas, workout equipment, and locker rooms. Currently, the facility is being used by the staff from EMPA, and also from the fellow research personnel at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag).

EMPA’s deputy director and strategic manager of the NEST project, Mr. Peter Richner expresses the research team’s goal to meet energy-intensive needs of “wellness for all individuals” through renewable energy. In order to accomplish this, the team behind the NEST fitness room project extensively lowered the conventional high energy consumption of gym sub-facilities such as showers, saunas, and even gym equipment such as treadmills.

By employing a carbon dioxide-fuelled heat pump, the heat generated in one tank can be distributed across multiple installations, rendering efficiency that trims down gross power consumption by two-third share. According to the research, sauna-derived heat can be preserved, reused and distributed as much as possible with the help of these pumps. High technology insulation between the double-glazed windows of the gym will further keep the sauna heat inside the facility. NEST’s innovation manager, Mark Zimmerman, also reveals that a control system that answers to actual bookings of the fitness modules, and distinctly heats such parts of the gym is also being offered in this fitness project.

Universal availability of such facilities will be striking the penetration of “living lab” technologies where the heat generated from human chores will be powering the very equipment & amenities used by them.