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Tennessee Tech, Chapman University Embark on Energy Output Challenge

Tennessee Tech University (TTU) and Chapman University have begun a contest to see which school can produce the most electricity for the power grid by using gym equipment installed at their schools.

The contest, using the SportsArt Fitness Green System and dubbed the Kilowatt Throwdown, runs from February 15-March 15. The victor will claim a $7,000 SportsArt treadmill and EcoFit, the company that provides the Green System's monitoring equipment, will give the winner awards from Best Buy and Foot Locker.

The Green System consists of a pod of exercise products, including elliptical steppers and upright and recumbent cycles, connected to an inverter. The inverter is connected to a 220 volt power supply. Once the users begin exercising, power is generated and fed back into the power grid to offset other power consumption in the facility.

Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, TN, worked with three groups from the school--The Fitness Center, Facilities and Business Services, and the Sustainable Campus Committee--to bring the Green System to TTU as part of the campus' commitment to going green.

"We use a lot of electricity in the fitness center and any time that we can do something that reduces that, that's what we need to do," said Suzann Hensley, assistant director for campus recreation at TTU. "This equipment was available to us, and we thought, 'Why not?'"

Tennessee Tech boasts an enrollment of almost 11,500 and offers more than 40 bachelors and 23 graduate degree programs within six academic divisions, including Agricultural and Human Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, and Interdisciplinary Studies and Extended Education.

Chapman University is located in Orange, CA, and was founded as Hesperian College in 1861. In 2009, the Chapman University System was created to include Chapman University, and Brandman University, "a separate, fully accredited institution dedicated to extending the Chapman education to working adult students online and through a network of 26 campuses in California and Washington," according to information released by the schools.

SportsArt is the largest single brand manufacturer of fitness equipment in the world and is sold in more than 70 countries.

About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at sportswryter@yahoo.com.

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