A new study in Nature Climate Change, snoozingly entitled "Energy consumption in buildings and female thermal demand", has revealed some underhanded reasons why women may get cold in the office environment.
The study by Boris Kingman and Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt, published Aug. 3, looked at the comparative metabolic rates between men and women and qualified that with the standards related to thermal comfort in the western workplace.
According to New York Magazine:
[M]ost office buildings set their thermostats using a formula based on the metabolic rate of a 40-year-old man. Yet because women are often smaller and have more body fat than men, they also tend to have slower metabolic rates — meaning that the current standards for air-conditioning are way too cold for most women. After studying women doing seated work while wearing light clothing, researchers found that women's average metabolic rate was 20 to 32 percent lower than the rates used to determine standard office temperatures.
The study has since picked up a number of proponents worldwide, discussing personal experience and anecdotal evidence that corroborates the findings.
The study recommended changing office temperature standards to reflect the average metabolic rates of men and women. This would probably involve turning down that air conditioner a little bit.
Men will deal with it and it might just set new expectations of business attire.
Bonus: lowering air conditioning would help conserve energy, saving money and lowering emissions. It's win win!
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