People-Planet-Party, this was the vision when the Sustainable Dance Club was founded. It all started out as a research project in 2006. The project should have an impact on people all over the world. But you have to start somewhere. Therefore the decision was made to address people in night clubs. Sustainability should be integrated in an environment full of fun, party and young people, without pressure and finger-wagging. For this reason floor modules, which light up the ground, were designed and installed in a few clubs. Easier said than done! The idea came up quite quickly but the realization of it turned out to be a really difficult challenge. After a longer search, two technicians of the Eindhoven University of Technology found a solution how to transfer the drafts and drawings into reality.
“We want that people realize that we have to get the most out of limited resources.” (Michel Smit)
Since 2010, the company rather narrowed its focus on the further development of the energy generating floor, than on the transformation of night clubs. They sell and rent the floor combined with Energy Experiences worldwide for exhibitions, parties, fairs, festivals or corporate events. The Sustainable Dance Club expanded and developed a more cost effective, efficient floor for large scale applications: The Sustainable Energy Floor (SEF).
Today the company changed its name and became Energy Floors. This would be a first step of entering new target markets such as public transport, architecture, exhibitions, education etc. with the new product. The SEF generates energy through the movements on the floor modules, i.e. kinetic energy of dancing or walking people is converted into electricity.
The generation of energy requires a certain portion of human power. In order to light the small bulbs that are installed in the inside of the modules, you have to jump and dance. As soon as there is no more movement on the module the lights turn off. Here, the efficiency of the modules always stays the same, the generated electricity, however, depends on the weight and activity of people jumping on it. Energy Floors’ tiles are the world’s most efficient converters of human power into electricity, but there is a limit to the energy that lies in a footstep. The business is about generating electricity, but the outcome of electricity is not high enough to actually save money on the energy bill or power big devices with it. At this point you could ask yourself whether these floors are a suitable alternative for future energy supply. CEO and founder Michel Smit explains that the business idea is rather about generating a lot of energy but about addressing people’s way of thinking.
“Our mission is to create awareness about energy production and energy consumption by making it interactive and fun and relating it to human scale.” (Michel Smit)
Smit also mentions the importance of visualizing current energy generation or consumption in order to change people’s behavior. Therefore, the Sustainable Dance Clubs are equipped with a huge battery symbol that shows current electricity generation of the installed Energy Floor – a great way to motivate people to dance even more. The generated electricity then can either be used to up the floor or be stored in a battery so that it can be used for other purposes. With this concept, people get enabled to realize how much effort it takes to produce energy.
Moreover the company wants to help other companies to become more and more sustainable. The Energy Floor Modules are rented by famous ‘Global Players’ for special events, fair trades or projects to show their interest and willingness to enter this topic. At the end of 2012 energy floors counted 17 permanent SDF installations, events in 69 different cities in 18 countries on 5 continents. They‘re also featured in the guardian, the Focus and the Moscow Times.
“Our company can’t be 100 percent sustainable, the same for our partners and clients. But we want to support the right movements towards sustainability. ” (Michel Smit)
In future times cooperation’s with companies and institutions in public transport are appropriate ways to use the modules more effectively as a lot of people are passing public transport places. In addition new business options, especially for clubs, will be implemented. These business options will probably occur in forms of investment, leasing and service. Investment therefore is thinkable to realize through which offers even third stakeholders to participate in sustainable projects and meanwhile raise their capital. The leasing option would promote the sustainable focus as the modules don’t have to be bought and thrown away, but are given to the next partner after a certain time has passed. The service option would help to further expand the current business model. Here, clients would be counseled in terms of sustainable business models, e.g. a night club would not also get the sustainable energy floor but also get installed a Photovoltaic in order to generate own green power.
Even though spreading its ideas and products at different places all around the world, the company has to be careful while choosing spots and duration of installation. The main purpose of the floor module is to raise people’s awareness on energy consumption. This can be achieved best when people explore something new in it and want to find out more about the topic. At that point when people get used to it, the modules will lose their ‘power’.
“We are the first step for people to start experience sustainable solutions. Once they have realized that it is easy to do and it makes you feeling good and you are part of a sustainable solution, they want to do more in this field.” (Michel Smit)
Now it is your turn
Are you wondering why you should support the Sustainable Energy Floors? That is easy to answer:
You can communicate your ambitions regarding sustainable development, contribute to an attractive and fun environment and you can create and raise educational value about the technology. And meanwhile have a great party.
Even Prince Charles already checked out the Energy Floor in the gardens of Buckingham Palace!
So what are you waiting for, stay tuned and check out their events!