Office Air Conditioning May Be A Giant, Sexist Conspiracy, Says Science

In this video, The Telegraph‘s Radhika Sanghani reveals the discomfort of any woman who’s found herself huddling under a pashmina to stay lukewarm while her male colleagues appear just fine and toasty. Sanghani argues that office air conditioning may be sexist, so women may have more to overcome in the traditional office workspace than previously imagined.

At a not-so-balmy 22 degrees Celsius, the usual office temperature is set according to the basal metabolic rate of a 40-year-old male weighing 154 pounds. The Nature Climate Change Journal verifies this information, which works an unfair disadvantage to women, who generally (do not) enjoy a lower metabolic rate. That makes the usual “normal” office temperature feel positively frigid to a woman.

The study’s authors suggest adjusting the standard temperature formula — which was developed in the 1960s — to include metabolic rates of both women and men. They also note that reducing “gender-discriminating bias in thermal comfort” would result in setting building temperatures at slightly warmer levels — thereby conserving energy and helping to combat global warming. In case anyone needs more incentive to create less-frigid work environments, researchers have also found that frozen employees are less productive.

Translation? Women are tired of shivering for no good reason, and they don’t appreciate warding off the “it’s nipply in here” comments. Does this make office air conditioning sexist? Probably not, but the guidelines are certainly outdated.

(Via NY Mag)