Your Office Air Conditioner Is Sexist
If you’re freezing in your cubicle this summer, you’re not alone—and it turns out there’s a reason the women around you are more likely to be bundled up.According to two researchers in Nature, the standard air-conditioning temperature for office buildings was calculated way back in the 1960s, and it was based on the metabolic rate of a 40-year-old, 154-pound man.On average, women have lower metabolic rates than men, so we don’t need the AC turned up quite as high to be comfortable. Given that a lot more women have entered the workforce in the last 50 years, you’d think they would’ve tweaked the formula to arrive at a temperature that better suited everyone, right? Wrong—the formula hasn’t changed in decades, and neither has the standard office climate.This is satisfying news for any woman who’s ever sat at her desk in July and thought, Why is it so freezing in here? This has to be a huge waste of energy! Congratulations—you were right!Now it’s just a question of what to do about it, and more than personal comfort is at stake; if every office building in the world is overzealous with its AC, that has climate change implications as well. Researchers have proposed changing the formula itself, but some experts think that may prove too complicated, and that individualized temperature control at the office or cubicle level may be the best way forward. Until we get there, hold onto those Snuggies, ladies, and don’t let anyone take them from you.