Complaints about cold offices finally have some basis—it’s likely your male colleagues are to blame.
According to a new research by Maastricht University, the standard used to determine the ideal indoor temperature is based on the body heat of the average man.
Current calculations for building temperatures try to balance average body heat—which is dictated by the body’s metabolic rate—and that of the room or office, in order to find the ideal level of warmth.
These standards are deployed across both Europe and the U.S., Boris Kingma, a lead researcher of the report, told CNBC via email.
Body heat production is directly linked to metabolic rates, which refer to how much energy your body requires to maintain its physical functions.
Individual body and composition are essential in determining your metabolic rate, Kingma explained. Body cells and fat cells generate heat, even at rest.
“Men are in general a bit taller than women and also a bit more muscular than women. These two add up that males in general have a higher heat production than females,” he said.
Women’s metabolic rates are 20 to 35 percent lower than their male counterparts, the report’s press release explained.
Kingma said researchers found, though other research, that women in general prefer a warmer environment.
Maintaining less-than-ideal office temperatures for women not only results in chilly workers, but a spike in energy consumption as people reach for the thermostat or drink more coffee or tea to stay warm.
If addressed, offices could lower their energy use. Together with residential buildings, offices account for approximately 30 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions, the report said, with human behavior contributing to nearly 80 percent of the variation in those buildings’ energy consumption.
“By taking into account the actual metabolic rate of women, a crucial step can be made in creating more energy-efficient buildings and a more comfortable working area for women,” the release explained.