The next time you work out at the Student Recreation Center, you may be supplying your own renewable energy. This week, the Rec Center installed its first "human-powered" treadmill.
Vince Daino, director of campus recreation, said the new EcoMill uses a battery that is recharged as the user walks or runs. The fact that the machine does not need to be plugged into an outlet is one of its important advantages.
"A standard treadmill needs to be near an outlet, but self-powered treadmills can be located anywhere," Daino said.
Users also like the fact that they're not using additional electricity when they exercise, Daino said.
"We tested this same machine for a month earlier in the year," Daino said, "and asked users for feedback. They were unanimously positive about the treadmill."
The new treadmill joins about 10 others in the student fitness center, which all get a lot of use, according to Daino.
"Last year we calculated that on just three of the treadmills, students had jogged a distance greater than once around the Earth," Daino said. "They get a tremendous amount of use."
Daino said that next year he hopes to add a second self-powered treadmill to the fitness center and expects a day not far in the future when none of the popular machines will be drawing energy from the electric grid.
"It's a small change, but small changes add up," Daino said.