114,000 Pots of Coffee

At DETA we’re big fans of efficiency and we’ve been thinking about efficient use of time at our desks. We are all fortunate enough to have two perfectly good legs which are being underutilised, so perhaps we should be generating electricity with these. But how hard would we have to be pedalling in order to power our Christchurch office?

Well, based on our latest electricity bill we use approximately 6 kW on average during work hours. With an average of six people in the Christchurch office at any one time this works out to 1 kW per person. That may not sound like much, but it could be a bit challenging given that 0.25 kW is a pretty common maximum power output for an 80 kg rider (on a proper bike too, not a desk pedaller!).

So powering the whole office might be a tad too ambitious.

If we make the bold assumption that each person can hold 0.1 kW of raw power output for the whole work day (no mean feat) and our theoretical generator operates at 80 % efficiency, that gives us 0.5 kW to work with. Which means between six people we can power approximately 50 Clock Radios (very helpful), 50 Light Bulbs or 5 Computers.

Might be best to just leave the electricity generation to the experts and save the exercise for the lunch time park run.

In a similar vein Exercisebike.net looked at the power output of the Tour de France and came up with some pretty cool comparisons. Over the course of the three-week race, 198 riders travel a course that stretches 3,519 kilometres. Over that time they’re putting out a lot of energy.  If we harnessed all of that, imagine what we could do with it…