Chemmie Squier | Acting Fashion & Beauty Editor | Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Freezing In The Office? Blame It On The Sexist Air-Con

Here's Why You're Really Freezing In The Office

The Debrief: Why are we all shivering at our desks when the men are toasty? It's because the air con's sexist. Sort of.

As soon as it gets even slightly warm outside, Debrief HQ basically turns into an ice palace, meaning we spend each day shivering at our desks with five jumpers on over that summer dress that seemd like a great idea when we left the house this morning.

In other words – once the sun comes out, the air con comes on, and it gets really bloody cold. Now it turns out there’s an actual reason for this and that reason is men.

Admittedly that’s a slightly simplified version, so I’ll expand. In a study by Nature Climate Change published on Monday they said air-con standards are taken from a 1960s study, which was based on the metabolic rate of one 70kg, 40-year-old man. This means the female metabolic rate could be being overestimated by up to 35%.

According to the study, women in general prefer a higher room temperature (25°C) than men (22°C) and metabolic rate also decreases with age. Basically, women and older people are getting a rough (and cold) deal when it comes to their work environment.

The writers did their own follow-up in which young adult females performed ‘light office work’ in respiratory chambers so their thermal state could be measured. They found that their average metabolic rate was 20-32% lower than rates in the standard chart used to set building temperature.

Without going into it too much and confusing you and myself, they concluded that thermal comfort models should be adjusted to reflect actual metabolic standards by including the values for females. Here here.

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Tags: Working Girl