Re Is Air Conditioning A Sexist Plot? (Aug. 13): It’s reported that new research suggests the reason why most women find office buildings too cold in the summer is because the air temperature is set using a decades-old formula best suited for the metabolic rates of middle-aged men.
While there may be legitimate concerns with this formula – it ignores many cultural, climatic, social and contextual dimensions of comfort, for example – pinning the blame squarely on one variable is far too simplistic.
Thermal comfort is highly complex, involving a multitude of physical, social and psychological parameters that vary between different areas of a building and at different times of the day and year. Temperature in buildings can’t be as finely tuned as one would hope.
One thing is for certain, however: It is absurd to waste so much energy cooling buildings in the heat of summer that a sizable portion of the population are made to wear sweaters or blankets.
PS: For the record, I’m a man and I find most buildings unbearably cold in the summer.
Note: This appeared as a letter to the editor in The Globe & Mail.