Since 2015, the Office of Quality Initiative has hosted The Den, modelled after the successful CBC-TV hit series Dragon’s Den. Members of the Carleton community are encouraged to submit ideas throughout the year to the Ideas@Carleton platform, that they think are “pitch-worthy.”

The Den event take place each fall. To view previous ideas pitched in The Den, please see the annual Quality Showcase summaries. We have also created videos updating the status of the ideas pitched in The Den.

If you have questions, about The Den, please email

Cardio to Kilowatts Ideas@Carleton Pitch Brings First Eco-Power Bike in Carleton Fitness Centre

Cardio to Kilowatts Ideas@Carleton Pitch Brings First Eco-Power Bike in Carleton Fitness Centre

Power is taking on new meaning in Carleton’s Fitness Centre – in the form pedalling.

The first Eco-Power bike was installed in the Fitness Centre on Monday, March 1. By riding the Eco-Power bike, human energy helps to power the bike, while any surplus electricity left can be converted to utility-grade electricity back to Carleton’s power grid.

This is one of the many successful ideas already implemented through Ideas@Carleton, including the car charging stations on campus, as well as The Marketplace, Carleton’s version of Kijiji for faculty and staff. Ideas@Carleton is a forum within the Intranet  where faculty and staff can submit their innovative ideas for continuous improvement at Carleton.  Within the forum, members of the Carleton community can engage with these innovative ideas by adding their support, comments or by building upon them. Ideas from students can be sponsored by a faculty member.

The idea for the eco bike came from three first-year sociology students in Prof. Tonya Davidson’s FYSM 1506A: The Sociology of Ottawa course following a discussion about sustainability and a visit from Carleton’s sustainability team member Scott Macdonald in 2019. It sparked a brainstorming session about sustainability ideas students could pitch to the university.

“The pitch that won the most votes by an in-class vote was the pitch by the Eco-bike team. I suggested to Taylor, Arden, and Maggie that they should present their idea at Michel’s Den,” says Davidson. “They did a great job; they brought in a stationary bike as a prop and recruited one of the judges to bike for the duration of their pitch. It was an impressive presentation, and it’s exciting to see this idea being realized in the Carleton athletics centre.”

Davidson submitted the idea through Ideas@Carleton and it was selected as one of the pitches to go forward to The Den (an event fashioned on the popular CBC-TV show Dragon’s Den). The trio were the first students to pitch an idea in The Den. They got overwhelming support by the judges, including Michel Piché, vice-president (Finance and Administration), who funded “Cardio to Kilowatts.” “I was so impressed by the student’s pitch. It was innovative, well thought-out and will engage many people in a sustainable practice,” says Piché. “I am happy to support itnd I look forward to using it the next time I am at the gym at Carleton. I would like to throw out a friendly challenge to all my colleagues to give it a try too!”

Check out the eco bike in action:

Student Arden Day (Criminology) is thrilled the idea has become a reality.

“Cardio to Kilowatts was born from an optimistic joke in class after a comment was made about how we wished the sweat and effort we put in at the gym could make bigger impact both within the school community and on the environment … Now, thanks to Quality Initiatives, Tonya Davidson, Melanie Dow, Michel Piche, and my amazing team this project has successfully been brought to campus, reaffirming Carleton University’s leadership in sustainability.”

Teammate Taylor Robertson (Health Psychology) says it was exciting to see the idea go from concept to implementation.

“I never thought an in-class brainstorming session would become what it has today,” adds Robertson. “I was, and still am, in disbelief that “Cardio to Kilowatts” has officially begun!”

The Eco-Power bike is an example that all members of the campus community have a role to play in making Carleton more sustainable, says Sustainability Manager Philip Mansfield.

“Our new Sustainability Plan set a goal to create opportunities for staff, faculty, and students to engage in sustainability initiatives. This idea, which was originally pitched in Michel’s Den by a group of students, of a human-powered exercise bike does just that and will not only generate renewable energy but does it in a creative and engaging manner,” says Mansfield. “As our community look to keep healthy in the Carleton Fitness Centre, I hope it will spark a conversation about individual energy use, our own sustainability action and encourage further innovation on our campus.”

Student Maggie Johnson (Social Work) is still amazed the support the idea received.

“We were shocked when almost the entire audience and all the judges supported our pitch. Over a year later, it is crazy to see the project that was once a group brainstorm idea come to life, says Johnson. “We are so grateful and overjoyed to see it come to life!”

Photos from The Den