When it comes to the age-old "battle of the sexes," even the A/C thermostat can become a battlefield. In the office during the summertime, you may have noticed your female colleagues bundling up while your male colleagues shed their suit jackets. At home, your significant other might have different ideas about how cold is too cold. As it turns out, there are plenty of good reasons why women might find the A/C a bit too cold for their tastes.
It's All About Biology
Temperature differences between men and women can be traced back to the body's basal metabolic rate (BMR). When compared with men of similar height and weight, women have a BMR that's 5 to 10 percent lower. This is due to men having more muscle mass than women, which usually requires more calories burnt at rest just to sustain those muscles.
Despite carrying more fat than men on average, differences in fat layer distribution also account for how differently women respond to temperatures and air conditioning. It's these biological differences that make a difference in how men and women have differing levels of comfort in air-conditioned spaces.
Air Conditioning Standards are Biased Towards Men
There's another surprising reason why women often feel colder than men in air-conditioned spaces. The standards commonly used for calculating heating and cooling needs in offices and other buildings are largely biased towards men.
An overwhelming majority of buildings throughout the globe have their climate control systems design based on standards developed as far back as the 1960s. Although the standards take into account various aspects of human physiology including BMR, these standards are based on the physiology of a 40-year-old man weighing about 154 pounds, according to Time Magazine.
With male comfort being the only model for A/C design, it's little wonder that many women find themselves being given the cold shoulder in terms of A/C usage.
How Cold is Too Cold for Women?
Time Magazine also found that women preferred an office environment with indoor temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, most offices hover between 70 and 73 degrees -- the optimal temperature for the typical office environment, according to most experts. Unfortunately, this optimal temperature may not be so optimal for female office workers.
Recent research from Cornell University backs up women's desire for a warmer workplace. In this study, researchers found that increasing office temperatures from 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit helped boost productivity and reduce typing errors among subjects.
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