Have you ever heard a woman complain about how cold it is at her workplace? Are you a woman who has to wear sweaters at work during summer months? Well there’s a good reason for this type of behavior as a new study has revealed that office temperatures are based on an old formula that favors men, not women.
Said formula was designed back in the 1960s, when most, if not all, employees were men. It was developed to optimize the workers’ thermal comfort by keeping their bodies from shivering because their environment is too cold or sweating because their environment is too warm. But it only took into account men’s clothing and metabolic rate.
But the researchers from Maastrict University explain that not only do men have faster metabolic rates than women, these rates also vary greatly from person to person, depending on an individual’s height, weight, age and fitness level, as well as the nature of the work that they have to do.
While the formula also looks at four (4) big environmental factors: radiant temperature, air temperature, humidity and air velocity, the main assumption that it’s based on is that every employee is a man with an average age of 40 and an average weight of 154 pounds.
This is the reason why some women say that they’re cold when they’re at work.
The finding si nothing new in and of its own, as many previous studies have found that women usually prefer higher temperatures, while men usually prefer lower temperatures. What is new is that the study conducted by researchers from Maastrict University has collected physiological data that backs up its claims.
The experts selected 16 women and guided them inside a room where the temperature was 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), one of the typical temperatures is modern day workplaces.
The subjects were mostly young 23 year olds who weighted 144 pounds. They dressed in typical summer clothes (cotton T-shirt, cotton / polyester sweatpants socks and underwear) and were asked to carry out light office tasks like reading at the table and writing e-mails.
The study results showed that the women were cold. Current standard office settings overestimate the heat that a woman’s body produces by no less than 35 percent (35%).
Boris Kingma, lead author and human biology expert from Maastricht University, gave a statement informing that previous research has shown how when a person’s environment is poorly balanced, their productivity suffers.
He hopes that the study will motivate building engineers and government officials to rethink what the ideal office temperature is.
Kingma also stressed that “If you want to describe the thermal demand of a population, then it should be representative of that population”.
But another notable finding is that thermostat settings affect the planet’s environment as well. They inform how much energy a system should use and impact the way the office is built.
The study was published on Monday, August 3, 2015, in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Image Source: standard.co.uk