Another day, another article about the gendered impacts of air conditioning.
Here's the story: North American offices are air conditioned to a temperature which is, from a female perspective, too cold. Women shiver at their desks; men are just fine.
It's a serious environmental issue. When women have office space heaters cranked up in July because the air conditioning is unbearably cold, energy is wasted.
The gender gap in temperature attitudes is generally blamed on clothing (women wear light cotton dresses in the summer) or the slower female metabolism (women burn energy more slowly, so feel colder at any given temperature than men do). Another contributing factor is that air conditioning systems are designed for heavy duty cooling, and do not operate well at higher temperatures.
Yet there is one explanation for the gender gap which I have never seen referred to in print: perhaps women's offices actually are colder than men's. (HT to Roland Paris for suggesting this idea).
In a typical office tower, the warmest offices are those with big south windows. The coldest offices are the ones which get little or no solar heating - the interior offices, and those that face north. And who has the offices with the big south-facing windows? Where I work, those offices are most likely to be occupied by senior professors, chairs, directors, associate deans, deans, vice-presidents, and so on. Who gets the interior offices, with no windows? The (mostly female) administrative staff.
At least that's the way it is where I work. Do others have a similar experience?