Sustainable energy demonstration at Golden 1 Center turns footsteps into electricity

Originally published by on Sept. 23, 2018

A display at the Golden 1 Center hosted by Bank of the West on Saturday and Sunday transferred several thousand footsteps into electric energy, surpassing a 50,000-step goal and generating a $10,000 donation to sustainable energy initiatives.

Hundreds of passersby in front of the main entrance of the downtown Sacramento arena contributed the power of footsteps for Bank of the West’s two day “Power the Change” demonstration as they walked under six arches and pressed down on floor panels with their feet.

The temporary walkway installation, called the Pavegen System, transferred the foot energy to power green strips of LED lights along the arches, highlighting how the technology could one day be used on walkways, bike paths, in museums or other public venues and even in the homes of millions of people around the world to create human-powered electricity, according to Dan Osipow, Bank of the West’s senior vice president and corporate sponsorship manager.

“It’s all about giving folks different ways to experience energy transition,” Osipow said. “Most folks are aware of, obviously, wind turbines and solar energy and even water to create energy, but this is a really interesting concept where human energy can be captured and stored.”

Bank of the West met its goal of 50,000 steps around 2 p.m. Sunday, and shortly after reaching it, donated $10,000 to GRID Alternatives, an Oakland-based non-profit that specializes in renewable energy transition for low-income communities.

As of 4:50 p.m. Sunday, visitors had stored more than 52,000 steps worth of energy in the walkway, which was recorded on a nearby monitor. That translates to more than 115,000 joules of energy, which could power more than eight hours of light from an LED bulb, or 550 feet in an electric car, or 60 hours of talk time on a smartphone.

“In an average day of walking 10,000 steps, you could power your smartphone for 16 hours and 40 minutes,” Bank of the West said in a press release. “When you multiply that by the number of pedestrians in a major city, like (Sacramento), the possibilities are endless.”

The display had previously been installed in San Francisco and is scheduled to be shown next in Portland and Los Angeles.

“At Bank of the West, we’re really now all about sustainability and finding smart ways to have a more sustainable world and sustainable future,” Osipow said. “We’ve taken a pretty interesting position of a more sustainable focus for us. We see what this world needs for us now and our children and so on.”

See photos and video of the demonstration by Renée C. Byer at

About Daniel Wilson

Daniel has been a writer for over 25 years and recently earned his Bachelor's degree in journalism. Portfolio:
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