By Madeline Berger- Recreation
As Natalie described in her blog post from third week, our team had a tough time deciding on a project since our wonderful stakeholder Rich Mylin had so many great projects to choose from. Now that we’ve settled on improving energy efficiency at Wooden, we realized the somewhat daunting amount of information we needed to collect, and we are tackling this task from a variety of angles.
From Rich, we are looking at trying to get the actual energy bills for three months from the Wooden Facility so we can calculate costs and do monthly comparison as we decide what changes could be made to save more energy. We also have to spend a lot of time at the actual facility counting and recording lights, TV’s, and other electronics (look for us when you work out we’ll be the ones wearing street clothes and holding clipboards!)
But before we get into all that, we’ve been doing background research on previous energy audit projects at other Universities or gym facilities, as well as research on the best available lighting technology. While it seemed like this would perhaps be the most mundane part of the project, I believe what we found so far has already opened some doors we might not have considered before.
In particular, I was interested to discover a new trend picking up of “green gyms”. While there seem to be only a handful that exist in the US right now, the idea behind these gyms is that not only are the lights and air conditioners and electronics functioning at top efficiency, the gym users themselves are creating energy. Similar to how the Ecochella festival here at UCLA powers the stages using bikes ridden by audience members, these gyms harness energy from the ellipticals, treadmills and Stairmasters and use it to power the facility. These gyms also of course have solar panels, recycled rubber floors, non-toxic cleaning chemicals – basically creating any environmentalists dream workout space and also cutting monthly costs.
This “total gym makeover” is of course too large a project for us to finish in two quarters, but I was nonetheless inspired by the idea. It would be awesome to perhaps test run this kind of set-up here at UCLA using only one machine, with gradual implementation as a long-term goal for Recreation. Whether this is currently feasible with the current infrastructure I do not know, yet these are just some ideas I came up with after reading the article.
In the meantime, our talented team has already come up with pages of ideas for how to install more efficient lighting, so we will have plenty to keep us busy.