Image credit: Sami Grover
I was visiting a client the other day—the fabulous RAFI USA (Rural Advancement Foundation International)—when I was shown one of the team members' desks. Instead of a chair, she had a treadmill set up so she could keep walking as she typed. It was certainly a neat way of gettig exercise. But it got me wondering, could it also be green?Lloyd has already written about the health benefits (and risks) of a standing desk, and pondered why standing desks haven't caught on. But, to my knowledge at least, this is the first time we have covered a "walking desk". There are a number of things going for this, from an environmental perspective:
Better Health: Regular exercise for office workers should mean better health. And given the often high environmental impact of health care, and the tendency for sedentary lifestyles to lead to greater car dependence, there should also be a direct green benefit.
Less Stress: Stress too has an environmental impact. And we know that exercise can alleviate it. So finding ways for desk-bound workers to keep moving should help here too.
A Source of Power? OK, given the minute amount of power produced by treadmills and bikes, the idea of powering your desk with your own motion probably isn't a big emissions saver—especially if you factor in the energy it takes to manufacture a treadmill. But just like the folks who powered an entire house by bike, relying on human power can be a great educational tool to stop us taking fossil fuels for granted. (See human-powered gyms for a classic example.)
Sure, strapping a treadmill to your desk is not going to solve all the problems of the world. But it's a pretty creative way of making your day just a little better. It is, of course, also a great example of multiple use from a single space. And that can only be a good thing.