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Bicycles Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers offers free meals for generating electricity on their fitness room exercise bicycles

Published on April 26th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan

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Ride a Bike, Help Power the Hotel, & Get a Free Meal in Copenhagen



One of the “greenest hotels” in the world, the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, has an interesting new option. If you ride one of its new electricity-generating exercise bikes long enough to generate 10 watt hours or more of electricity (not long), you get a free meal worth about $45.

The bikes have iPhones on the handlebars that can tell you how much power is being produced and fed into the hotel. Fun!

The hotel didn’t want to make this a Lance Armstrong challenge — they want to get as many people using the bikes as possible. Cycling for one hour at 30km/hour (18.64 miles/hour), a guest can produce 100 watt hours of electricity. At that rate, it would only take someone six minutes to reach the 10 watt hours target they need to hit for a free meal. However, once you’re on there having fun, getting fit and watching the iPhone as you race against the building’s solar power system, you might want to stay a little longer.

“The electric bikes offer our guests the chance to get fit and help power the hotel at the same time,” said Allan Agerholm, the Copenhagen Crowne Plaza Towers’ general manager. “It will be interesting to see how many guests take part and how much electricity we generate.”

One person riding to create only 10 watt hours of electricity may not do much for the environment — that would only power a 100 watt bulb for six minutes. However, if you get enough people riding for long enough, it could make a significant difference. Plus, you are capitalizing on an activity numerous guests would be engaging in anyway. That makes me think: maybe a similar program connected to the bed springs of hotel room beds would make more sense and be a good next step! However, it would have to be sensitive about its marketing and would require another technology that might not be fully ready yet.

This bicycle pilot program will run for a year. If successful, it could spread to all Crowne Plaza hotels.

via Sideways News and Guardian

Image Credit: Lars O. via flickr/CC license

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Henry

    This is a classic example of greenwashing with no real movement on the needle for being environmental. Here’s why:

    Energy Saved (per Bike, best case scenario – there will be other losses):

    (100 Watts / hr) * (4 hrs / day) * ( $0.12/kWhr)

    = $0.05 / day Saved per Bike

    = $17.53 / year Saved per Bike

    Typical cost of a Bike conversion (or additional cost for an electric output):

    $1,000

    Typical cost of installing additional electric circuits for 4 bikes (current bikes are standalone and do not require outlets):

    ($100/hr) * (3 hrs) + ($600 materials) + ($750 permitting & design)

    = $1650

    The pay back period:

    6.7 years

    The conclusion: Hotels are constantly renewing their facilities to stay fresh and new so it’s unlikely the equipment will be in service long enough to recover the monetary investment (unless the greenwashing attracts customers – then it’s well worth it). Form an environmental perspective this project is definitely more polluting than the stand alone bikes already available – because of the additional materials and the opportunity cost of expending industrial efforts to a new product that is only, in spirit, green.

    Overall, I’d ride one, it’d be cool, but, I’d boil it down to what it really is – a greenwashing marketing gimmick that does more in raising awareness than it does in actually moving the needle on total carbon footprint.

  • Frank Hanlan

    I would love to see the idea of having exercise bikes contributing to the electrical energy needed to operate a hotel, retail store, mall, exercise facility, etc. I also agree with Sven. Let’s bypass CFLs and go right to LEDs.

  • Sven

    While little more than a gimmick, I like this a lot. I want one of those bikes. Not to mention, if this place has LED lighting it will light up quite a few of those for longer than 6 minutes.

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