It's not womens' metabolism that keeps them cool in the office; it's the men in suits.

Steven M. Johnson suit
© Steven M. Johnson

In the post Big surprise: Women like warmer temperatures but men control the thermostat I discussed a new study claiming that biology is a factor in how men and women feel about the temperature of an office. I had always thought that it was more an issue of the thermostat being controlled by men in suits.

Now ASHRAE, the engineers who set the standards, has rejected the new study, claiming that a) the sample was too small, and b) they do not base their standard on men from the 60s. Bjarne Olesen, Ph.D, a member of the ASHRAE Board of Directors, says it's all about the suits:

The reason why we, in some field studies, find that women prefer higher room temperature than men is attributed to the level of clothing. Women adapt better their clothing to summer conditions while men are still wearing suit and tie. So if the thermostat is set to satisfy the men, the women will complain about being too cold. In the standard, this adaption of clothing to summer is taken into account so if the standard is followed the women would be satisfied; but maybe not the men.

Clearly Steven M. Johnson was right when he proposed unisex suits, this would totally solve the problem. As usual he was not wrong, just ahead of his time.

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