Can’t get through a day at work without breaking out your Snuggie or a pair of fingerless gloves? You’re not alone.
According to The New York Times, a new study has shed some light on why women often feel cold at the office during the hot summer months: Many companies set thermostats using a formula from the 1960s that is based on male metabolic rates.
‘In a lot of buildings, you see energy consumption is a lot higher because the standard is calibrated for men’s body heat production,’ said Boris Kingma, a biophysicist who co-authored the study published in Nature Climate Change.
Those cold feet aren’t just your imagination!
The ‘thermal comfort’ formula considers air speed, clothing and other factors, including metabolic rate. But the rate used in the formula is for a 154-pound, 40-year-old man, the study said.
Women, who currently make up about half of the work force, tend to have lower metabolic rates. As a result, the formula ‘may overestimate resting heat production of women by up to 35 percent,’ the study said. Women’s clothing, which often is more lightweight, also may play a part.
So what’s the solution? Kingma and co-author Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt said offices should ‘reduce gender-discriminating bias in thermal comfort’ – not only for employees but also the environment.
‘If women have lower need for cooling, it actually means you can save energy because right now we’re just cooling for this male population,” Joost van Hoof, a building physicist who wasn’t involved with the study, told the Times.