Rise in office air conditioning use leading to workplace cold wars
CTV News Vancouver
Published Thursday, July 25, 2019 6:48AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, July 25, 2019 8:11PM PDT
A new survey shows more B.C. workplaces are using air conditioning, which is leading to a cold war between employees.
The report, commissioned by BC Hydro and conducted by Majid Khoury, says air conditioning use in commercial buildings has increased by almost a third since 2006.
The survey also says that nearly a quarter of people have argued or witnessed an argument over the office air conditioner.
But in spite of this tension, two-thirds of British Columbians don't have the ability to adjust the office temperature themselves or must ask permission to change it.
Of those, the survey also shows that nearly 60 per cent of workers find offices is too cold during the summer, with mostly women being impacted. Those women choose to use a blanket or wear layers to deal with low office temperatures.
According to the survey, women are twice as likely as men to say cold temperatures make it difficult to focus on work and are almost four times more likely to say the office is too cold during the summer.
This survey, BC Hydro says, supports other studies which found that many office climate control systems are based on a thermal comfort formula designed for men and their metabolic rate.
BC Hydro added that many offices set their thermostat to as low as 20 C, which is three to four degrees cooler than is recommended and can waste electricity.
Instead, BC Hydro recommends keeping offices cooled to between 23 and 26 C during the summer and only when employees are in the building. Otherwise, air conditioners should be turned off when the office is empty.