04/08/2015 06:00 BST | Updated 04/08/2015 06:59 BST

Air Conditioning In Offices Is Too Cold (And Sexist) As It's Based On Metabolic Rate Of Middle Aged Men

GraphicaArtis via Getty Images
Mountain climber discovering a business office on an icy ledge high in the mountains, 1955. Screen print. (Illustration by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

Almost every woman who works in an office has taken part in the air-conditioning wars.

For a history lesson - this is when we say the air-con is too high, and the men invariably tell us to 'harden up' because clearly our frail female bodies can't cope with the temperature.

However finally, the day of reckoning is upon us.

Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands say that women prefer a warmer temperature of around 25C compared with 22C for men.


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Most offices use a rule of thumb from the 60s - selecting an average temperature based on the metabolic rate of a middle aged man. The metabolic rate is how fast your body burns energy and generates heat as a result.

As a result, the air-con is set too high, as women tend to have a lower metabolic rate than men - meaning they need more warmth.

In short, your air-con is sexist, as it's based on a gender bias that no longer exists.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Dr Boris Kingma and Professor Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt said: "Thermal comfort models need to adjust the current metabolic standard by including the actual values for females."

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