Office Air Conditioning Is Too Cold For Women, Says Study

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Office Air Conditioning Is Too Cold For Women, Says Science

What a chilling revelation.

It's summertime! Therefore, being stuck in a stuffy office during a heat wave is not exactly ideal. So, the solution? Blasting the air conditioner, of course.

But for many women, this is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, obviously, they are not burning in the heat. A curse because they are as frozen as a popsicle in a freezer.

When you think about it, it makes a little sense. Many women's office wear sometimes includes short-sleeved blouses and skirts, and because it's summer, they would opt out of wearing stockings. Meanwhile, men's office wear includes long-sleeved shirts, suit jackets and pants, so they're significantly warmer

However, it turns out that there is more to women's susceptibility to the cold than their office wear. In fact, it has been that way for the last 50 years from the invention of the air conditioner, itself.

According to a report on Today, a study found that "the temperatures in many office buildings are based on a formula developed in the 1960s that employs the resting metabolic rate of 154-pound, 40-year-old man." It was published in Nature Climate Change in 2015. 

Compared to 50 years ago when a good majority of the workforce was men, there are now more women in the workplace, but the formula for building air conditioners stayed the same. The study found that, although men are perfectly fine in a 71.6 degree temperature, most women prefer the much warmer 77 degrees. This has nothing to do with personal preference (although that may be a factor), but more with their metabolism.

In an interview with Today, Dr. Devi Nampiaparampil of NYU School of Medicine says that "women tend to have lower basal metabolic rates, so they tend to burn off energy a lot slower." Therefore, they tend to give off less heat than men.

According to this report by The New York Times, working in a a chilly environment negatively affects productivity.

So, men, the next time you see your female office worker shivering, they would greatly appreciate it if you offered them a jacket or a blanket. Or better yet, just lower the damn AC!