Generate economic/environmental/health benefits from the energy expended in gyms
This concept has the potential to benefit the environment, the individual, Surrey's communities, the local authority and the economy, and all by harnessing an existing renewable energy source. The majority of gym equipment works on the basis of resistance; gym-users expend chemical energy (thereby making them fitter/healthier/happier), which is currently lost as it dissipates into other forms of energy (e.g. heat). If you could introduce technology that enabled you to capture, store and reuse that energy, you would effectively convert the gym-using populous into one big dynamo. So why do this? What would the benefits be? Environment - even if the energy captured could not be added to the national grid, it could be used to supply power to the gym itself (e.g. lights, the machines), which would effectively lessen demand on the national grid. The individual - there is potential for offering contributors financial incentives; for every unit of energy captured, the individual could be compensated by way of credits against their own fuel bills. This fits well with the council's current focus on saving residents money on their energy bills, and also ties in with newly acquired public health responsibilities. What better way to motivate people to exercise? Communities - fitter, healthier individuals lead to happier communities, not only in terms of health, but by providing a reason for people to meet, socialise and participate in constructive group activities. The economy - the technology required would need to be developed and managed, potentially creating a localised industry. Furthermore, if people are able to save money on their energy bills, individuals' spending power could be increased, which could also benefit the local economy. Also, as a community's health improves, there would see reduced demand on services such as health, social care and police, enabling them to make better use of increasingly limited resources. I am unaware of any such systems/technology being used in the UK at the moment; my guess would be that the set-up costs of the technology would be problematic. Political will is also key, so providing incentive for decision-makers would be vital.