Old formula, efficient air conditioners to blame for office conflicts: BC Hydro

VANCOUVER — The latest study from British Columbia’s Crown-owned power utility finds office air conditioners cool the workplace in summer but can also lead to heated arguments between colleagues.

A report from BC Hydro says an increased use of air conditioning in the office leads to worker discomfort, with 25 per cent of those asked saying office temperature has prompted disagreements between co-workers.

Hydro says the use of air conditioning in commercial buildings has increased by almost one-third since 2006, while its study says as many as two-thirds of the 500 people questioned report they can’t access the thermostat or lack permission to change the settings.

Of those, Hydro says 60 per cent — most of them women — find office temperatures are so low that they have trouble working, requiring them to regularly use a blanket or other layers to fend off the chill.

A BC Hydro spokeswoman says its data supports other studies showing many office climate-control systems are based on an outdated thermal comfort formula designed to suit the metabolic rate of men.

The utility recommends offices be cooled to between 23 C and 26 C, that air conditioning should be turned off when the office is unoccupied and that a heating and air conditioning professional be hired to identify energy efficient solutions.

Spokeswoman Susie Rieder says part of the problem is that many office ventilation and heating systems continue to use settings that were often designed for men in the 1960s, and research shows men have a higher metabolic rate than women.

“That could be contributing to women feeling colder in the office,” says Rieder.

“Another (study) that recently came out in the online research journal Plos One said women actually work better in warmer temperatures and men work better in colder temperatures,” she says.

The online survey of 500 British Columbians was commissioned by BC Hydro and conducted between June 20 and 25, 2019. (The Canadian Press, CHNL)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pandemic puts Canadian Finals Rodeo in doubt

When Jeff Robson thinks about the 47th edition of the Canadian Finals… Continue reading

Alberta confirms 29 new COVID-19 cases

Of the total 6,955 confirmed cases, 652 are active

Alberta house prices poised to plummet, says federal agency

Worst-case scenario could see house prices drop 20 per cent

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame awaits $300,000 in provincial funding

Tracey Kinsella has been on the job for less than a year,… Continue reading

More hospitals part of plasma transfusion trial to treat COVID-19 with antibodies

More hospitals part of plasma transfusion trial to treat COVID-19 with antibodies

Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

Brazilians say ‘I do’ at drive-thru weddings to avoid virus

Cases going down, but experts urge against visiting grandparents during pandemic

Cases going down, but experts urge against visiting grandparents during pandemic

One dead, four hurt in head-on crash on one-way street in Edmonton

One dead, four hurt in head-on crash on one-way street in Edmonton

NDP mocks Alberta premier’s UCP for taking COVID cash from ‘sugar daddy’ Trudeau

NDP mocks Alberta premier’s UCP for taking COVID cash from ‘sugar daddy’ Trudeau

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

Alberta introduces bill to change rules on charter schools, home-schooling

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

‘Antigone’ wins five trophies, including best picture, at Canadian Screen Awards

Most Read