Science Says Women Can Blame Men for Chilly Workplaces

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Women average about 78 cents for every $1 a man earns in the U.S., but it turns out that salary is not the only workplace statistic that favors men.

A study published online Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change — “Energy consumption in buildings and female thermal demand” — adds temperature to the list.

The research shows that most office thermostat temperatures are set based on a formula that dates back to the 1960s and is based in part on the metabolic rate for a 40-year-old man weighing 70 kilograms (about 154 pounds).

The formula can overestimate the resting heat production of women by up to 35 percent, which helps explain why women are often chilly at the office.

One of the study’s two authors, Boris Kingma of Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, tells CNN Money:

“We found that the standards globally — at least for the metabolic rate — are based on an average male.”

But women, the study explains, generally prefer a higher room temperature than men at work and at home for a few reasons, some of which are beyond either gender’s control.

Joost van Hoof, a building physicist at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands, tells the New York Times:

“Many men think that women are just nagging. But it’s because of their physiology.”

Van Hoof was not involved in the study but wrote a commentary about it, noting that many men wear suits year-round while many women wear sandals and lighter clothing that exposes more skin during the summer.

The study suggests that the office-temperature formula be revised. But until then, Kingma suggests that men “stop complaining” and that both genders adjust their attire:

“If it is too warm, the behavior thing you can do is take off a piece of clothing, but you can only do that so much. You could also say let’s keep it a very cold building and women should just wear more clothes.”

Do you agree with the study’s findings based on your experience at work? Let us know what you think — leave a comment below or on Facebook.

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