The fight for equal rights unfolds, as an increasing number of companies stand behind the diversity concept, struggling to offer more chances to women and minorities all over the world. Women have fought over equal rights for decades, hoping that society will offer them a better chance to integrate and make the most of their lives, such as men had been doing since the beginning of times.
From a social perspective, the concept of equality has a meaning and it can be applied at all levels. But sometimes we forget about our biological traits that are dramatically different in women, compared to men. Let’s take the office space, for instance. Every time a man adjusts the temperature of the air conditioning, a women shivers while the male exhibit seems to feel extremely comfortable in chilly air. Then the heated arguments arise. Women like the environment to be warmer and softer, while men like to feel the cool breeze of that air conditioning caressing their sweaty faces.
According to a new study, gender bias may affect the heating and cooling in office buildings. Temperatures are oftentimes based on a decades-old standard that only considers the metabolic rate of men and ignores the internal workings of women.
Most building thermostats follow a thermal comfort model that was envisioned in the early 60’s, considering factors like air temperature, vapor pressure and clothing insulation, using a version of Fanger’s thermal comfort equation. Back then, offices were stuffed with men, while women were sitting at home and taking care of babies. Times have changed, men and women are found in offices in approximately equal proportions and the thermal comfort model must be changed, based on the equality concept of nowadays.
While men can bare the chilly breeze inside office buildings, women have to bring a scarf and a sweater to survive a day in the building. Women who are doing normal office work have a significantly lower metabolic rate than the office space engineers use.
This is a conclusion based on a study which involved 16 women placed in a sealed chamber for 45 minutes. While they were sitting there, doing their usual office jobs, the chamber measured oxygen and carbon dioxide, a great proxy for metabolic rate. After collecting the entire pool of data and analyzing the numbers, experts estimated that the ASHARE standard for office temperatures may overestimate female metabolic rate by up to 35%.
However, the study only involved women, not men, reason why it bears a little skepticism. Back in the 60’s, when the original standard temperature was set, research was a little different. “The important thing in the basic standard is we studied a couple of thousand people, not just 16, and almost half were women” , declared Bjarne Olsen, a civil engineer at the Technical University of Denmark.
The present sample size is too small to offer us a truthful insight over the matter of inequality in the first place and wrong measurement of office temperature on the other.
A very old thermal standard which was developed in a world ruled by men is the reason why women shiver more in office spaces. The matter is delicate and nuanced but from a social standpoint, measurements must be reconsidered.
Image Source: telegraph.co.uk