Why Is Your Office So Cold In the Summer?

Summers are hot in Indiana, but many of us find ourselves bundling up in the office with cardigans and jackets, even when the heat index tops 100 degrees! As temperatures outside rise, most corporate office buildings become hermetically sealed, air-conditioned ice cubes, forcing workers everywhere to grab a Snuggie.

In a study of government office buildings, for instance, 60% of workers complained of thermal stress–that they’re too hot or too cold in their workplace.

Why can’t we manage to keep offices at a comfortable temperature?

Several things could be causing your building to turn into a frigid tundra every summer, ranging from not enough thermostats to an oversized cooling system to miscalculations about how many people will be in a room (and what they’ll be wearing) at any given time.

However, misjudging the temperature can cost you more than just energy bills. Employees who are uncomfortable are more distracted and make more errors than those who are cozy and comfortable at their desk.

So, if cold workers are less productive, why is my office so cold?

For many offices, it is simply a matter of differences in dress codes. Some offices require a suit and tie, no matter the season, meaning that law and business offices need to maintain cooler temps for optimal worker comfort. However, the graphic designer down the hall may work in a t-shirt and jeans, or the women in the office may opt for sleeveless dresses.

Additionally, the design of your building may cause some workers to feel left out in the cold. Usually, the air coming out of the vent is 10 to 15 degrees colder than the room’s target temperature, since the flow of air warms up the farther it travels through the building.

So someone sitting right next to an air conditioning vent might be shopping for a space heater while a few rows away, another employee is sweating.

What about really large buildings?

However, for larger office buildings, the answer may lie in long-standing tradition.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, most office buildings set temperatures based on a decades-old formula that uses the metabolic rates of men (that is a 40-year-old man weighing about 154 pounds).

However, many women have slower metabolic rates than men due to body composition, and the formula overestimates the “resting heat production of women by up to 35 percent.”

Since women, and some men as well, have a lower need for cooling at rest, they find themselves shivering away.

So what can you do?

By consulting a professional HVAC company like BNG Heating & Cooling, we can conduct an audit to not only make sure your system is cooling effectively and saving your business valuable dollars each month, but we can also determine if your system is the right size for your business, if you have enough thermostats to adequately adjust temperatures throughout the building, or if the air is colder in some areas vs others due to the layout of your building.

Call us today to evaluate your space and save you from the icebox!

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