Office Air Conditioning Is 'Sexist', Claims New Study...

Office air conditioning units are set to meet the preferences of middle-aged men and leave most women shivering at their desks, a new study has revealed.

The study, conducted by two Dutch scientists and published in the journal Nature Climate Change, found that the majority of climate control systems in contemporary offices are based on the metabolic rate of an 11 stone, 40-year-old man, as a result of research conducted in the 1960s.

The scientists, from Maastricht University Medical Centre, studied 16 women performing light office work at their desks and discovered than their average metabolic rate was 20-30% lower than that of their male counterparts. Essentially, this means that thermostats would need to be set four degrees warmer for the office to be a comfortable temperature for women.

Dr Boris Kingma, who led the research, said the study helped to "point out how metabolic rate differs between males and females and how important it could be to take this into account when defining indoor climate standards," the Telegraph reported.

The study further found that women prefer a warmer working temperature of 25C (77F) on average, compared with 22C (72F) for men. This is likely due to the fact that men tend to have more heat generating muscle, meaning they feel comfortable at cooler temperatures.

The research concluded that standards must be updated to take into account the differing temperature requirements of men and women, along with additional factors such as weight and age. "The current standards [do] not include a variable to account for body composition of building occupants," Dr Kingma said.

Altering air conditioning standards will not only help women to feel more comfortable at work, but lower energy consumption would mean less impact on the environment. At Rapid, we hire and sell energy efficient portable cooling units that are suitable for many different types of commercial property, ultimately helping you create the ideal climate for your environment.