A new study shows that office temperatures are based on a man’s metabolic rate, which explains why some women feel colder on average in the same environment.
Office environments may be set to a certain temperature, but it isn’t necessarily perceived the same way by everyone.
Now, a research study explains why women often feel cold at work–because standards are based on men’s bodies.
The team found that thermostat levels were set in the 1960s and are geared toward the average resting metabolic rate, which is the amount of energy burned and heat produced, of a man 40 years in age and 154 pounds in weight.
On the other hand, women have proportionally more fat cells, which produce less heat than muscle and tend to have lower metabolic rates, making them feel colder in the same environment.
As part of the experiment, the researchers tracked the internal and external temperatures of 16 women seated in a controlled chamber that measured the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Based on the resulting data, they found was that current settings “may overestimate female metabolic rate by up to 35%.”
In addition to adding comfort, the researchers argue that building managers can save on energy costs by adjusting levels to be more equitable.
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