AUSTIN (KXAN) — Why are women so cold at work? The temperature in your office was set more or less in the 1960s. At the time, a formula was devised to figure out the ideal indoor temperature.
Here’s how it works:
Air temperature, air speed, vapor pressure and clothing insulation are factored together. They are then converted into a seven-point scale, which is compared against the number of people likely to feel too warm or cool.
The problem though is that this whole system was designed around a 40-year-old man weighing 154 pounds.
A study conducted in 2015 found that a woman’s lower metabolism, which means a lower body temperature. Causes women to feel colder. The system from the 1960s doesn’t take this into account.
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers took women into account with their formula. They found that indoor temperatures should be between 73 and 79 degrees. Most offices fall between 68 and 72 degrees. In Texas, the average indoor temperature is 69.9 degrees.
There are some benefits to being cold. Our bodies begin making brown fat, which can actually burn calories. There are two types of fat, brown fat and white fat. Initially, scientists thought we lost all our brown fat when we were babies, but now they believe it also forms when we are cold. Also, our metabolisms rise, giving us a little cardiovascular workout.
If things are still too cold, here’s what you can do
Change all your office lights to a yellowish-red color. Just by changing the light you’ll begin to feel more comfortable, almost like you’re sitting near a fire. Scientists believe blue light makes us subconsciously think “cold”, making us feel that temperature.
Another option is installing fans. They’re more energy efficient than air conditioning and cause less damage to the environment. Personalized fans and/or heaters can allow each employee to maintain their own optimal temp.
Finally, you can wear less clothing. Scientist found that by wearing less, you become more tolerant to colder temperatures. For example, the indigenous people of Australia can cope with large drops in skin and body temperatures without shivering. One study found that by sitting in cold water for 90 minutes a day, five days a week, for five weeks, while only wearing swim trunks, your body could become better at conserving heat.