However, what most people probably don’t know is that there is an explanation for this. According to a new study, climate control systems are designed for men’s comfort. Thus, it is safe to say that not only is this adjustment gender biased but it is also harmful to the environment, because more energy is wasted this way.
When temperature is adjusted in an office, the experts need to take into account a variety of factors. An engineer from Denmark, Ole Fanger, thought about this more than four decades ago, when he designed a pattern that combines environmental variables to help us feel comfortable.
Nevertheless, his experiments revealed that there is no such thing as an ideal temperature that can make absolutely everyone feel comfortable. This is mainly due to the fact that heat exchange depends on various factors, such as our clothes, our metabolic rate, our body size and tissue insulation.
This is why most offices decided to adjust the thermostat for men’s comfort, which means that these environments are usually too cold for women, according to the authors of the study , Wouter van Marker Lichtenbelt and Boris Kingma.
An explanation for the women’s thermal discomfort is that they have a lower metabolic rate and are usually smaller than their male co-workers.
This probably also means that temperature that is previously set for Europeans’ comfort will be too low for Asian office workers, who are generally smaller and lighter.
While some would say that this is merely an interesting piece of news that doesn’t affect anyone, studies have shown that the temperature of the working place influences our performances.
For example, it was proved that people who need to carry out certain physical and cognitive tasks need to feel a bit cold to perform at their best. In comparison, manual dexterity is better if the temperature is higher.
Even if Ole Fanger’s model was challenged by many companies, what is important to point out is the fact that air conditioning requires a lot of energy, which harms the environment in the long run. Saving energy also means reducing greenhouse gases, which massively contribute to global warming.
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