You’ve probably experienced the bouncing sensation when a car passes, as you
walk in a multistoried parking structure. Or the phenomenon of the floor
vibrating beneath your feet on the upper levels of a crowded mall during the
holidays. A mini earthquake from thousands of feet traversing the walkways.
Structures are designed to accommodate this motion, which structural engineers
call “dynamic load”.
An architectural firm in London has announced plans to capture this foot energy
and convert it into electricity. They propose to build an energy harvesting
staircase with small hydraulic generators embedded in the floor of a London
subway. Each footstep is estimated to generate 3 – 5 watts of power. Multiply
that by hundreds of thousands of footsteps per day, and you could light an
entire high rise building.
Project like this and the one in New York in which two ingenious women are
harvesting the energy produced by people operated revolving doors are examples
of a growing enterprise, harnessing energy from the natural activities of
Imagine a greener future where every step you take is helping your planet.
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