OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

The Green Energy Olympics

A national challenge in which communities compete against each other generating renewable energy. The energy should be generated through specific gym-machines by the people in each community.

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
9 4

Written by

Each September the 'Green Olympics' (aka. 'Green Super Bowl', or 'The Green Games') will be held across the US. Communities will compete against each other to determine who generates more green energy, using specific equipment. There will be different ways through which people can generate green energy for their community: 1) Spinning bikes; 2) Treadmills; 3) Weightlifting; 4) Dance Marathon on a piezoelectric floor; 5) Rowing
Local/franchise gyms will provide the necessary equipment for the communities in which they are established. The machines inside these gyms will be connected to the grid and will calculate the amount of energy generated. The different gyms across the community will add up the energy generated. People can check the score live online, and see where their community is ranked.
Partnering with gyms will also be useful to spread the word about the upcoming event - gyms might distribute flyers or stick wall posters in their facilities to encourage members to join.

We would market the Green Energy Olympic Games as a Superbowl. Having national TV coverage (e.g. ESPN), tshirts for each community, etc.
This will not only create buzz around the Competition but will also generate awareness about renewables.
The NGEOA (National Green Energy Olympic Association) will be the entity responsible of the whole organization (auditing the machines used, the size of the gym complex, etc)
Besides national recognition, the whole winning community will have a national tax reduction during the year, until the new champion emerges next year.
NGEOA will finance this tax reduction, since it will be the one collecting the revenue associated with the energy generation.
1. Tourists/spectators will be encouraged to use bikes and public transportation to commute.
2. Trash will be recycled into different collectors including food waste for making biogas.

What community does this idea benefit and who are the main players?

Communities could be determined as cities or states. What do you think is better?

How does your idea specifically help your community rapidly transition to renewables?

It engages the whole community, creating a sense of team, all working together to generate the most green energy possible.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

A competition between two universities using spinning bikes connected to a energy generator.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Sports idea to include in the competition!

Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post:

  • A type of energy not listed

This idea emerged from:

  • An Individual


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anna MacDougall

Hi Ramiro!
What a great idea!
Have you thought about the opportunity to get kids involved too? Maybe through a junior games, if not within the main event. Children don't tend to be members of gyms, so a tie in with local schools would create an opportunity to help educate students about the initiative (and it's important cause) and potentially bring in a few other community members (teachers, parents) into the adult event too.
Looking forward to seeing your idea move forward,

Photo of Joan Cabré Puig

This is truly a great idea! It brings together the increasing sport & fitness fever around the world and the green energy awareness.

In addition to your well-defined plan, allow me to share a couple more thoughts:

- It would be interesting to encourage local gyms (or even franchise gyms) to join the event. They would provide the necessary equipment for the community/ies in which they are established; in exchange for this, each community would agree to advertise the gym in some manner (most common example: an ad printed on every community's t-shirt). The gym sponsoring the winning community would benefit from a still-to-be-determined business tax credit as well.
In order to promote competition, a gym would not be eligible to provide equipment for more than three communities.
Partnering with gyms would also be useful to spread the word about the upcoming event - gyms might distribute flyers or stick wall posters in their facilities to encourage members to join -, which in turn would pave the way for getting nationwide TV coverage.

- As Natalie pointed out in the previous comment, I also think it might be an issue to launch the competition on a large-scale basis. I would start testing the success of the event in some neighborhoods within a city, or even an entire city - a city big enough to secure media coverage, but not too big to fail to identify and manage communities

- Assuming that the event is successful and other cities start organizing their own one, setting up a play-off competition would be an extra incentive for communities. We should then think of other prizes in order to keep communities motivated.

I will keep posting in case I have something else to add.

Overall, great idea and thanks for sharing!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero

Hi Joan, thanks for your comment!!
I agree that partnering with local gyms is the way to go, I will upload the post know!
Please continue posting your thoughts!!

Photo of Shuting Zeng

Hi Ramiro another interesting idea! I think Joan made good points: starting from local gyms where equipment is available is a good idea. Traditional gyms with traditional equipment may only show how much calories you burn. Even when they show how much energy competitors generate, they may not turn these into green energy ready to be used! So we may need a new kind of gym to facilitate such kind of competition. Wonder if you have checked out Will's Power-Plant Gym idea:

Maybe you two can come up with ideas together!

About "Olympics" the term, I think it is copyrighted and can't be used by local communities or even any international organization besides the real Olympics Committee! I went through legal docs about how the SF gay community's request to have a Gay Olympics was denied by the real Olympics organization legally and in many other ways during my research job with a museum. For local competitions, we may come up with a new name! Yet the real Olympics going green is another intriguing idea isn't it?! I googled a bit and found these articles that may interest you:

2012 London Olympics Go for Green

What Olympics Teach about Getting Green

What is China doing to create a Green Olympics

I think there may be something we can learn from this international event about how to get local sports competition green too!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero

Hi Shuting! thanks for your comments!!
My thoughts:
- the gyms will have to incorporate Will's machines
- thanks for the 'Olympic' term research, if we cannot use it, then we will have to change it.. any idea?
- nice articles, thanks!

Photo of Shuting Zeng

Hello Ramiro,

Ha it is always fun to come up with names for things isn't it? Well how about Green Bowl since you mentioned SuperBowl lol. Besides generating energy, a green sports game can also publicize about environmental concepts too. That is what I have got mostly from the real Olympics going green is by using environmental materials for architecture design, and also implementing little environmental details to the whole operation, for example:

1. encourage tourists/spectators to use bikes and public transportation to commute between different sites.

2. turn every trash can into a collector of multiple types of recyclables. Give out recyclable bags.

3. collect the urban waste such as food waste for making biogas!

Maybe besides the bicycles, there are still a lot we can do to the Green Olympics/Bowl! I look forward to seeing this idea evolve!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero

Hi Shuting, that sound great, as soon as I update the post, I will include those!

Photo of Meena Kadri

Fun stuff! We love the idea of your lightweight experiment between two universities and hope you pursue this potentially impactful prototype.

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero

Hi Meena! I'm glad you like it! I really see a lot of potential in this idea :)