Women are usually colder than men using traditional indoor temperature recommendations.
The researchers tested 16 women, students in their 20s, doing seated work wearing light clothes in rooms called respiration chambers, which track oxygen inhaled and carbon dioxide exhaled. Skin temperature was measured on hands, the abdomen and elsewhere. A thermometer pill the women swallowed reported internal body temperature.
Researchers found the women’s average metabolic rate was 20 to 32 percent lower than rates in the standard chart used to set building temperature. So they propose adjusting the model to include actual metabolic rates of women and men, plus factors like body tissue insulation, not just clothing. For example, people who weigh more get warmer faster, and older people have slower metabolic rates, the study reported.
How much warmer an office would become would vary, of course, but the study cites research finding as much as a five-degree difference in women and men’s preferences. Dr. Kingma said a woman might prefer a 75-degree room, while a man might prefer about 70 degrees, which Dr. Kingma said is a common current office temperature.