Here at Air Options, we pride ourselves that our technologically advanced air conditioning systems are for everyone to enjoy, although we were curious when we heard about recent scientific studies into the effects of air conditioning upon body temperatures. Two Dutch scientists from Warwick medical school have been researching how men and women feel the effects of air conditioning and have come up with some interesting results. The findings, backed up by sound scientific theory, could provide some new data allowing us to utilise our air conditioning to its full potential, consequently saving money and making it more efficient long-term.
According to research carried out by Professor Paul Thornalley, women feel the cold more readily than men and are more affected by it. This is thought to be because of the different metabolic rates possessed by men and women and the variation in the amount of body heat that they produce. The body’s rate of metabolism directly relates to how much body heat is produced, so women’s rates tend to be lower, therefore they produce less body heat.
Thornalley draws on science that tells us that humans have two types of fat; ‘brown fat’, which is regulated by the thyroid gland and nervous system and produces heat and ‘white fat’ which stores surplus calories. The amount of brown fat a person has can account for changes in their metabolic rate. Because men usually have more body mass than women, they have more brown fat and therefore more potential to create body heat. So, men don’t feel the cold as much in the winter months but feel hotter in the summer, hence being comfortable with lower air conditioning temperatures, rather than feeling cold.
However, the research relies on traditional views of the biological make-up of men and women and views them as binary. Some men may have low metabolic rates and women may have high rates, there’s a spectrum that exists and men and women will generally fall in similar places on it, but there are exceptions too. Therefore it’s more important to think about why ‘people’ feel air conditioning differently to each other and this is largely because of metabolic rates and body mass.
There are also other factors that need to be considered, such as the types of clothes that men and women where in office based environments where air-conditioning is present. Men tend to wear shirts, trousers and possibly Jackets all year round, meaning they have increased thermal protection in the winter and become hot and sweaty in the summer. Some women wear clothes with lighter material all year round, and skirts so they are susceptible to feeling the cold and more sensitive to changes in temperature and air conditioning settings in the summer.
The research into the different ways men and women react to air conditioning settings is interesting and here at Air Options, we can help you to design a system that meets your needs and leaves your employees comfortable, based on our expertise and experience.