“I have always thought that people come in here and during their workouts they create a lot of energy,” said Paul Romeo, the co-owner of KokoFit Club on Highland Ave. “How cool would it be if we could find a way to harness that energy and use it for power.” This resourceful environmental spirit is indicative of the ways in which Paul and co-owner Adam Landry try to reduce their gym’s energy use in as many ways as possible.
In fact one of the ways that the two have managed to reduce energy use is by harnessing the kinetic energy from their elliptical trainers. The two elliptical trainers in the gym are both “Precor Self Powered Elliptical Cross Trainers.” Essentially, once a person begins pedaling, the energy from the motion is transferred into power that lights up the screen. Fifteen seconds after the person stops pedaling, it will shut off. The machine itself uses no energy from the grid.
A sophisticated lighting system also helps to lower the gym’s carbon footprint. Normally, KokoFit Club is open from 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. However, because there are peak hours, the lights are on a schedule in accordance with the times that most members are expected to be exercising. When the gym is closed, the lights shut off completely. Between 5 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. only some of the lights are activated. During the rest of the day, depending on the number of people in the gym, the employees manually turn down the lights and use natural light from outside to supplement the electrical light.
I was impressed that the owners of KokoFit Club bring the same inventive spirit to environmental concerns as they do to their business. While they are proud about the progress they have made to reduce their current footprint, Paul and Adam are also open to new ideas about how they can continue to trim down the club’s impact. A gym-specific wind turbine is probably not in their budget right now, but given the imaginative ways to lower electrical costs that they have already implemented, I would not put it past them.