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Q1: Ehy can't the machines in my gym be used to generate electricity?
Ans: Yes, they can. The Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon, which opened in August 2008, is the first gym in the US to convert the efforts of gym bunnies into electricity. Its three specially adapted bikes and the four-person "Team Dynamo", which combines cycles with hand cranks, can generate upto 1000 watts. What's more, you can emulate this concept in your own home by investing in a Pedal-A-Watt. When hooked up to a normal bicycle on a stand, this device allows a cyclist to generate upto 200 watts of electricity. That's enough to power a large TV, or store the energy in a battery for future use. An hour's worth of cycling would be sufficient to power a low-energy light bulb for around 8 hours!
Q2: If I switch the light on and off every time I enter and leave a room, does this use more energy than leaving it on all the evening?
Ans: Switching the light on and off does save energy, but there is a catch. Everytime you switch on the light, the bulb draws lot of electricity and then consumes little. But this initial jolt tend to reduce its life. Studies by the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, found that turning low-energy CFL bulbs on and off frequently can shorten their lifespan by as much as 75%! The institute suggets leaving CFL bulbs on if you will be out of the room for less than 15 minutes. This would actually reduce energy consumption and in turn, increase lifespan of the bulbs.
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