Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Turn the air conditioning down! Scientists say office temperatures are based on a decades old formula devised for men

ThinkstockPhotos-181294091.jpg

Why is it that when the sun finally comes out and it's a beautiful day, our offices turn into an icebox? We throw on our jackets, wrap our legs in cardigans and use our scarves as blankets to beat the air conditioning chill. And yet, how is it that our male colleagues happily sit there in T-shirts (or rolled up sleeves, if you're in a corporate environment)?

At last, two Dutch scientists have found an answer to our long-standing question.

Turns out, most offices set temperatures according to a decades-old algorithm based on male resting metabolic rates (how fast we generate heat) and women in fact require an environment that's 3°C warmer. 

According to the study published in Nature Climate Change by Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands this week, most building thermostats follow a “thermal comfort model that was developed in the 1960s” and is based on a 40-year-old man weighing 70kg (11 stone).

“In general, females prefer a higher room temperature than males in the home and office situations, and mean values may differ as much as 3K (males: 22°C versus females: 25°C),” write Boris Kingma and Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, co-authors of the report.

The authors also found that the dated thermostat formula didn't take women’s summer wardrobes into consideration. While men still wear shirts and suits in the workplace, many women opt for dresses, skirts, short sleeves, sandals and lighter fabrics in the warmer months. 

Does this look like you? Woman wears her jacket and scarf at her desk

Does this look like you? Woman wears her jacket and scarf at her desk

Since men no longer dominate the office space, is it time the air conditioning system was more gender-neutral?

The scientists concluded that buildings “should be adjusted by including the actual values for females to reduce gender-discriminating bias in thermal comfort,” and also to reduce a building's energy consumption to help combat global warming.

“In a lot of buildings, you see energy consumption is a lot higher because the standard is calibrated for men’s body heat production,” Kingma told The New York Times. “If you have a more accurate view of the thermal demand of the people inside, then you can design the building so that you are wasting a lot less energy, and that means the carbon dioxide emission is less.”

Reducing air conditioning not only saves us from becoming human ice sculptures, it also helps the environment. It's a win win situation. Now where's the 'off' button?

Related

taylor-swift-friends.jpg

The secrets and science behind successful female friendships

476939493.jpg

Challenge the status quo with these new rules for a happier work place

Neilston, East Renfrewshire.jpg

Britain's most desirable postcodes for work-life balance revealed

Working-Girl-working-girl-6063104-852-480.jpg

Six words and phrases to avoid in the workplace

hero-2.jpg

Five productive work rules to live by

cicerrmaiznca72eezqe.jpg

The coolest offices in the world

Comments

More

Witches are casting a spell on Donald Trump at midnight tonight

It’s set to be “the largest mass binding spell in history”.

by Moya Crockett
24 Feb 2017

This new yoga class is all about the healing power of gin

Empty your mind… and your glass

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Feb 2017

Best friends build community of tiny houses so they can live together

Welcome to bestie row…

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Feb 2017

Behold Ikea's incredible flat-pack indoor garden

Bring the outdoors in

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Feb 2017

Successful women “give up” on the idea of work-life balance, says CEO

Grace Bonney, founder of DesignSponge, says that the idea of a work-life balance is “not rooted in reality”.

by Moya Crockett
24 Feb 2017

Woman becomes internet sensation for documenting life as a third wheel

"Love makes the world go round. Unless you're me."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Feb 2017

First Dates is offering us all free food to sit in the background

Couples and singles can both apply

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Feb 2017

The Netflix gems to binge-watch based on your favourite TV shows

These are the unmissable Netflix TV shows you need to know about...

by Kayleigh Dray
24 Feb 2017

Inside Nepal’s forced marriage revolt

When love and tradition collide

by Corinne Redfern
23 Feb 2017

Demi Lovato on her mental health documentary: “I’m bipolar and proud”

The singer opened up about her new mental illness documentary to Ellen DeGeneres.

by Moya Crockett
23 Feb 2017