11 Apr

Paris Goes Green

The Energy-harvesting Tile

Sunday's Paris Marathon was the platform for a progressive initiative to convert the energy used by runners into a renewable source. Energy-harvesting tiles were laid across 82 feet of the Parisian course, meaning the footsteps of the 40,000 runners taking part were converted into kinetic energy.

The tiles, which are made from recycled truck tyres, were laid out near the beginning of the race as runners moved through the Champs-Elysées. Each footstep is said to have generated as much as 8 watts of kinetic energy, which was then used to power electric signs and display screens along the route.

The technology has been invented by London based company Pavegen Systems, who hope the tiles can be used to reduce carbon emissions and boost energy efficiency in cities around the world. Schneider Electric SA, sponsors of the Paris Marathon, are hopeful that the event will eventually become energy producing.

Pavegen Chief Executive Officer Laurence Kemball-Cook commented: "Imagine if your run or walk to work could help to power the lights for your return journey home in the evening. It's a viable new type of off-grid energy technology that people love to use and which can make a low-carbon contribution wherever there is high footfall, regardless of the weather."

Do you think event organisers do enough to make races environmentally friendly? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


  1. Gill Tavner said...

    What a fantastic initiative - the best I've seen. And what potential! In my experience, a rapidly increasing number of race organisers are working to make their events more sustainable in a number of ways. There's a lot that can be done quite easily. Paper-free registration and e-mail correspondence are easy and cost-effective steps, as is encouraging car-sharing to an event. More environmentally-aware organisers are choosing to give out sustainably-sourced finishers' and winners' prizes too. www.greenrace.co.uk supplies beautiful medals and coasters made from reclaimed waste wood. We also provide unique, hand-made finishers' prizes. Race shirts from plant cellulose fibre, also available from us, are increasingly popular. There's a lot that can be done for little if any extra cost. It's about being aware, and sometimes being brave enough to be different. I'm pretty sure most runners, in what is, environmentally ay least, a low-impact sport, would like to see this extended to the events in which we participate. Wouldn't it be great if next years VLM used these tiles too? Then left them there - a green legacy!