Decreasing Electricity Bill and Medical Insurance Costs

The purpose of this assignment is to help CTY’s management team to find the solution to decrease spending on the most expensive categories. These include electricity bill and medical insurance benefits for employees. At the same time, employees should not feel the difference in their initial generous benefits package, so our organization will keep the same level of employee turnover and retention. Also the employee morale will rise as a result of this policies and not fall. Our company recognizes that the excellent treatment it offers its employees is the guarantee of a success on the market.

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In order to achieve this goal a few steps should be undertaken. More specifically, I am asking our company’s management team to consider restructuring our gym facility and purchasing new equipment that will allow us to transform human power into electricity. I suggest using human motion in the gym to generate electricity for our facility. While employees exercise in the gym, they will help our organization to save on electric bill and also improve their overall state of health.

As a result, the number of obese and depressed employees will shrink dramatically. I particularly note this aspect because there are some studies show that these two problems may be linked. When a person, employee or not, feels good about his self, he or she has a more positive attitude toward the work environment. As a result, CTY will spend less money on employee medical insurance because they will have less health problems due to improved personal health conditions.

The so called “crowd-farm” movement has grown rapidly over the past years. Otherwise it is known as the “human created energy” movement. The basic principle it functions is very simple.

The original project is the fruit of hard work from two Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate students. Their principal idea was to make people realize what potential energy they release during their everyday life and how we can use that energy to cut our expenses. This way we would have an environmental friendly energy source and both would benefit from it.

We can have different devices that would be able to generate power, energy, from walking, running or spinning bicycle wheels. In a sense when you spend your body energy, you create a potential for creating other forms of energy. For example, electricity can be generated on floors and stairs when people walk on them. There are even practical examples of this. The floor of a London nightclub called Surya now generates electricity from dancing, as do floors in a Tokyo subway from walking. Furthermore, there are new office building projects in Asia with the built-in features for self-sufficient electricity supply based on human motion. CTY can join the list of pioneers in this field.

I think my recommendation is important because it will decrease our spending on electricity bill and employee medical benefits. Also, this project will allow our company to demonstrate the values that we represent through socially responsible innovation. It is the way to show both CTY’s contributions to making the world a better place and a way to call attention as a model for environmental conservation and a healthy lifestyle.

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Concrete Proposal

After e few words were spent to show the benefit of upgrading to “green technology”, now let’s pass to the practical steps to be implemented. The proposal we are delivering has as its main purpose to upgrade CTY’s gymnasium equipment in our working facility. The overall results of this upgrade will be the decrease of electricity spending and employee medical insurance benefits cost as well. This second will result because of the promotion of a healthy lifestyle among employees.

Proposal

According to the latest financial report, the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) spends a significant amount of its money on energy bills and employee medical benefits. This is a significant part of the monthly costs of the Center. But there exist different possibilities of solution to decrease our spending in these categories and by doing so reduce the total cost of the Center. This solution will allow us to address two major social and individual problems that are common throughout the United States today with a very innovative and creative way. Today, problems such as obesity and dwindling energy resources are at the top of the agenda of many individuals and communities in the country.

This is why we make the suggestion to purchase Green Microgym’s high technology equipment that has the ability to generate power (electricity) from the energy spend from human motion. This is a very efficient way of conserving space and energy. This is a technology that uses a combination of solar and human power as an energy source, and also has a capacity to store this power in the accumulator that serves as a resource for the electricity.

Green Microgym’s treadmills and spin bikes can accumulate energy from human motion and transfer it to the main accumulator for future usage. Employees will benefit from exercising and contributing to the energy accumulator by receiving cash bonuses based on their monthly/annual energy contributions. The monetary reward amount of each bonus is based on the number of generated watts per person. My proposal is to consider purchasing Green Microgym’s equipment for our existing gymnasium, which is badly in need of an upgrade. In the long run, we can decrease our spending on electricity and employee medical benefits.

Rationale (explanation)

New Green Microgym’s equipment and its combination with the incentive-reward program will serve as a motivation for our employees to exercise more in the gym. As a result, the situation to be created has the potential to improve the overall health of our employees and significantly reduce company’s costs on medical insurance benefits. The usage of the powerful combination of human and solar power will make a significant difference in decreasing our annual cost on energy consumption. In addition, implementing the “Burn and Earn” incentive program will increase gym attendance and create a more pleasant work environment, where people can exercise and earn bonuses for their energy contributions. This program may also increase social interaction and loyalty to the company.

Conclusion

I hope that you will consider restructuring our gym facility and purchase Green Microgym’s equipment. This project’s implementation will decrease our spending on electricity and employee medical benefits in the long run. Also, this project will allow our company to demonstrate the values that we represent through socially responsible innovation. It is a way both to show CTY’s contributions to making the world a better place and to call attention as a model for environmental conservation and a healthy lifestyle.

Literature Review

The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) has a plan to upgrade its gymnasium’s equipment in the near future. The evaluation team has determined the list of possible options. The first option is to purchase standard equipment that is similar to what it currently has. The other option is to consider Green Microgym’s machines. Current equipment is badly in need of an upgrade, so both types of the new equipment may spark interest in gym attendance. The major difference between these two equipment types lies in their energy consumption, the effort that a person puts on each exercise, and the workout output.

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Green Microgym uses mostly human power to generate electricity while the regular gym equipment consumes electricity. Consequently, the results from this purchase may vary in the long run. Standard equipment would be equivalent to what is currently used in terms of cost-effectiveness and energy demands. Thus, there would be no significant difference in CTY’s approach of energy preservation and cost savings. While other organizations undertaking many environmental initiatives nowadays.

By purchasing Microgym’s equipment, we will take a step towards making our facility “greener” and increase social interaction between employees. My proposal focuses on the purchase of the Green Microgym’s equipment and its benefits to CTY – in particular in the areas of employee health and saving on medical insurance, as well as energy conservation and generation.

What is the concept of Green Microgym?

Green Microgym is a set of machines hooked up to a generator that sends electricity back into the existing energy grid from human motion. Microgym’s stationary bikes look almost like any others, except that they are fitted with an arm crank and are hooked up to a generator. As riders pedal the bikes and turn the lever, the movement creates a current that flows to a battery pack. Bikes generate an average of 200 watts, enough to run a stereo, a thirty-seven-inch L.C.D. television, and a laptop for as long as the pedaling continues. (Baker, 2008)

Human-powered generators differ from the standard machines in a few significant ways. First, they are high-quality exercise machines, designed to provide a full lower- and upper-body workout. Second, by capturing and storing human energy, Microgym machines save CTY on electricity costs. In contrast, the regular machines do not have such capabilities.

The Benefits of the Green Microgym’s Equipment

There is energy being wasted on campus that could potentially be used to offset some of CTY’s electricity demands.

The particular strength of the Microgym is the efficiency of the regenerator. The amount of energy that it can produce depends on the user. A recent study (Fehrenbacher, 2009) suggests that an average person can generate up to 300 watts per hour while exercising on Microgym’s bike or treadmill. Obviously, the numbers for individual human power output are relatively small. However, it is still an inexpensive way to generate electricity. In the article “What if I could harness this energy?” (2009), many experts agree that generating watts with your muscles gives you a real sense of power and an intrinsic feeling of what it takes to create it. Most important, people will be more motivated to exercise if they realize the real benefits of their workout.

One would expect people to be more inclined to exercise if they are rewarded. For that particular reason, I suggest implementing a “Burn and Earn” program that would reward each participant based on his energy contribution. This program is being used by the Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon. The gym founder, Mr. Boesel (The Green Microgym, 2009), says, “Microgym is an example of what a community can do to conserve energy, even if it is a drop in the bucket” (p. 2). The number of his gym members has increased exponentially, proving that people are interested in donating their energy if they have a motive for doing so.

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In the same manner as many other organizations are transforming their facilities into more energy-efficient buildings using human power (West, 2008), CTY has a chance to join the list of pioneers and make a step forward to “greening” our facility and motivating employees to exercise. I envision the change that the purchase of the Green Microgym’s equipment can make in our work environment. Many staff members who suffer from obesity could improve their exercise habits and, ultimately, their state of health. As a result, costs for employee medical benefits at CTY would decrease. The purchase of the standard equipment is not likely to produce such added value.

Conclusion

Obesity is a major problem in nowadays United States. In fact, it has become an epidemic in recent decades. In a study the American Heart Society found that today 65% of people over the age of 20 living in the United States are considered overweight or obese, and about 16% of all children are overweight (“A Nation at Risk”, 2009). The irony here is that the cure for obesity begins with eating right and getting yourself to exercise. In this respect, CTY employees are not an exception. Very often, just a little more brainstorming effort is required from the organization to find a way to change the existing routine. CTY can make a decision today that will benefit it in the long run by choosing the Microgym’s equipment over the standard one.

Interviews with experts on the issue

This project intends to consider restructuring CTY’s gym facility and purchase new equipment that will allow us to transform human power into electricity. We have found the equipment of the Green Microgym that could use human motion to generate electricity for our facility. While employees exercise in the gym, they will help our organization to save on electric bills and also improve their overall state of health. Therefore, CTY will spend less money on employee medical insurance. As an incentive, I propose implementing the “Burn and Earn” program to reward employees’ energy contributions. In order to find out whether this proposal is realistic, I decided to observe how employees view these possibilities. For that reason, I surveyed CTY staff members using Survey Monkey Web site tools.

I distributed the survey via email to 206 CTY employees. The survey was designed to collect the highest response rate possible in a short period of time; that is why the survey consists of 4 dichotomous questions (yes/no format), 3 sub-questions, and a designated space for comments.

It takes approximately two minutes to complete my survey. The questions pertain to CTY’s gymnasium attendance, frequency of workout, and the relationship of exercise to health issues. Other questions ask whether employees are aware of new research on the capture and use of human energy obtained from exercise. Finally, the last question specifically addresses employees’ knowledge of the Green Microgym and its environmental benefits. (see appendix 1)

The survey results were very helpful, and the response rate was quite satisfactory. Due to its short format and ease of completion, the survey was answered by 104 employees out of 206 (roughly 50 %). First, it was important to find out how many employees use the gym on a regular basis to estimate the current participation rate and set goals for future gym attendance. On the question about their gym membership, 30 (29%) employees indicated that they are currently CTY gym members.

The vast majority of this group (90%) agreed that our gym’s equipment should be upgraded. They have also expressed an interest in being rewarded for their workout. Almost 74% of the most dedicated gym members (22) stated that they “will exercise more often” if the exercise routine is rewarded. The information about the “Burn and Earn” program was given in the “more details” mouse-over web box.

Among other employees, the 74 (71%) who are currently non-members of CTY’s gymnasium acknowledged that they would be willing to get the gym membership and exercise if the membership fee were subsidized through the “Burn and Earn” program. This positive response rate is critical to finalizing the decision on the Green Microgym’s purchase. It demonstrates the employees’ eagerness to exercise and their willingness to contribute human energy should the proper motivation be put in place.

The next set of questions aimed to collect responses on employees’ general perception of their exercise routine and its relationship to their state of health. The second question was addressed to both members and non-members of CTY’s gym who responded to the survey (104). Of these, 80 (76%) believe that regular exercise improves overall health. The third question has two purposes; first, to inform employees about the topic of the human energy transformation into electricity; and second, to challenge them to learn more about this interesting topic (possibly using instant answers from Google search).

As a result, 20 out of the 104 employees (19%) responded positively to this question as they were already aware of such possibilities. However, the low percentage indicates that there is room for an educational session about the new innovations in the field of gathering and transforming human energy. Finally, I asked survey recipients a straightforward question: had they ever heard about the Green Microgym? Only 5 (roughly 5%) answered “yes” to this question.

There were a few comments made at the end of the survey regarding our organization’s views on employees’ health and well-being. These comments encouraged the management team to come up with creative ways to improve our work environment. Also, there were several comments about staff willingness to learn more about the relevance of the exercise and savings on electricity bill, as well as the benefits of the Green Microgym. A few comments that sound very encouraging include the following:

Thanks for bringing up this issue!

I was thrilled to know Green Microgym does exist. Thanks for the info!

“Burn and Earn” sounds interesting…

Next I interviewed one of the CTY’s top management officials who wished to remain anonymous because of the written format of this interview. We discussed three major issues: CTY’s greenhouse initiative, our gymnasium upgrade with new Microgym equipment, its cost effectiveness, and the impact of the “Burn and Earn” program on CTY’s work environment.

First, he stated that CTY has undertaken many greenhouse initiatives. The most recent actions included installation of motion sensor lights in CTY hallways and offices, its paper recycling program, and its replacement of non-recyclable tea cups with compostable ones. Secondly, I presented my idea of the Green Microgym’s installation. The interviewee stated, “I would be interested to learn more about it in order to consider such a purchase” (personal communication, April 28, 2009).

Then he added that it sounds like a great idea that requires more research. He said that I could make a presentation up to 15 minutes about the Green Microgym during our monthly employee staff meeting. He explained that, because of the budget constraints this year, we need to consider the judgment of other top management team members. He clarified that no funds have been budgeted for this category for— neither for purchase of the Microgym nor for an upgrade. However, it would be possible to include such expenditures in June, when CTY’s finance department will work on budget projections.

When we spoke about cost effectiveness, he agreed that CTY’s electricity bill is very high—along with the costs of employee medical insurance, it is one of our major expenses. However, he stated, “There is not enough evidence that investment in the Green Microgym equipment will help us to cut these high expenditures.” Then, I suggested doing more research and calculations in order to have bold evidence that we can benefit from this project. He agreed that it would be very helpful for decision making regarding the purchase of any kind of equipment for CTY.

Finally, I asked him if the “Burn and Earn” program can make a difference in employees’ perception of CTY’s internal effort to make our organization a desirable place to work. For instance, based on the results of my survey, employees feel that CTY can improve the work environment and provide more incentives for them. It will help us to maintain the satisfactory level of employee retention.

He agreed that employees need stimuli other than their salaries to work well; the organization can play a role in motivating them. He believed that by providing scholarships to CTY employees’ children, our organization stands out among others in providing additional incentives and benefits. He also agreed that regular exercise may have a positive effect on employees’ health. However, he was skeptical that we can measure the effects on medical insurance spending for CTY staff.

Both survey and interview results indicate that more research needed before the Green Microgym can be installed. However, it was important step towards improving CTY’s work environment. Green Microgym equipment installation could be a solution to the change in CTY employees’ lifestyle and healthy habits, especially if the “Burn and Earn” program would be implemented. We can save on our two major expenditures such as electric bills and medical insurance by exercising regularly.

Appendix 1: Employee Survey

Please check the appropriate box for each question. This survey will take up to 2 minutes of your time. Add comments at the end if you have any.

  • Are you a member of the CTY’s gymnasium?
    • Yes
    • No
    • If you answered “YES”:
  • Do you think our gym’s equipment requires an upgrade?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Will you exercise more often if your performance is rewarded by the “Earn and Burn” program? Click here for more details =>
    • Yes
    • No
  • If you answered “NO”, would you be willing to join if your membership fee is compensated by the “Earn and Burn” program?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you believe that regular exercise improves your overall health?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Do you know that by exercising regularly you may save on electricity bill?
    • Yes
    • No
  • Have you ever heard of the Green Microgym and its benefits? Click here for more details =>
    • Yes
    • No
  • Please use this area to make any comments on any of the above questions.

Thank you for answering the above questions. Your time is highly appreciated!

References

A Nation at Risk: Obesity in the United States statistical sourcebook. (2009). American Heart Association. Web.

Baker, L. (2008). How powerful is your workout? The New York Times. Web.

Fehrenbacher, J. (2009). Energy 101: Where does our power come from? Inhabitat. Web.

West, L. (2008). Now, that’s hot! Human body heat to warm office complex in Sweden. Web.

What if I could harness this energy? (2009). TheHumanPoweredHome. Web.

What’s a Green Microgym? (2009). Green Microgym. Web.

The Green Microgym Harnesses Your Workout Power. (2009). The Green Upgrader. Web.

Green MicroGym. (2008). The Inhabitat Project online. Web.

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