Overly aggressive air conditioning in many offices can have women bundling up in the middle of summer.

Air conditioning can lead to ‘cold wars’ in B.C. offices

If things are too cold it can lead to discomfort and even conflicts between workers

If you’ve found that things get frostier in the office in more ways than one during the summer months, then you’re not alone.

A BC Hydro report finds the increased use of air conditioning in B.C. workplaces is leading to worker discomfort, as well as conflict between employees and employers.

The report—entitled “Cold War: How many B.C. employees are losing the battle over office air conditioning” (http://bit.ly/2GuNAMM)—finds A/C use in commercial buildings has increased by almost a third since 2006. The increase in A/C usage has resulted in close to one-quarter of British Columbians surveyed saying they have argued with a fellow employee over the office temperature, or witnessed this type of argument between co-workers.

The survey found that two-thirds of British Columbians do not have the ability to adjust the office temperature themselves, or must ask permission to do so. Amongst those, 60 per cent find the air conditioning too cold in the summer months, making it difficult to concentrate on work, with women feeling this way more than men. For instance:

· Women are almost twice as likely as men to say the office temperature makes it difficult to concentrate on work.

· Almost four times more women than men describe their office as too cold during the summer.

· Nearly 60 per cent of women who reported being too cold are regularly using a blanket or wearing layers to deal with low office temperatures.

The survey results support other studies which found many office climate control systems are based on a decades-old thermal comfort formula designed to suit the male metabolic rate. They were also developed at a time when offices were dominated by men, many of whom were expected to wear suits and ties at work, no matter how hot it was outside.

Dr Jennifer Miles-Chan, a senior lecturer in Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, says that men tend to have more muscle mass, higher activity levels, and larger bodies than women, translating to faster metabolism which keeps them warmer. Women, however, have less blood flow in their hands when exposed to cold, and their skin temperature might be lower than that of men.

The result of these differences is that a number of studies indicate women function better in a climate that is two to three degrees Celsius higher than what men find most comfortable. A 2015 study concluded that women feel optimum comfort when the temperature is 24° to 25° C.

BC Hydro data shows offices in B.C. set the thermostat as low as 20° C., which is a few degrees cooler than what is recommended, leading to wasted electricity and higher costs.

BC Hydro recommends businesses take the following measures to help diffuse tensions and avoid an office cold war:

· Optimize the cooling system: BC Hydro recommends offices and commercial buildings be cooled to between 23° and 26° C in the summer months when occupied, and that the A/C should be turned off when no one is in the office.

· Consult an HVAC professional: Use the BC Hydro Alliance of Energy Professionals network to hire a professional HVAC consultant who can identify and implement energy efficiency solutions.

· Ensure the HVAC system complements the office layout: Air duct balancing should be performed every time the layout of the office changes, to ensure the system is working optimally.

For more office energy saving tips visit http://powersmart.ca.



editorial@accjournal.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fires on Highway 1, CN mainline keep Ashcroft firefighters busy

Two vehicle fires and a rail fire sparked within an 11-day span

Reports on seniors’ needs, downtown show way forward for Cache Creek

‘I hope they won’t gather dust’ says Cache Creek mayor

Counselling support available for those impacted by wildfires

New, confidential, free service in region designed for families or individuals

Local News Briefs: Come out and rock

Join Rawkn’ Art Camp participants as they show off their accomplishments, and stay for a concert

Do you know these women?

Identity of two subjects of portraits by Ashcroft artist being sought

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Kraft Heinz brand baby food recalled in B.C. due to possibility of insects

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the product should not be consumed

Most Read