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Why Your Office Air Conditioning Is All Wrong

If you work in a large office block, chances are the air conditioning is set to run at 21.5 degrees Celsisus. That temperature is so widely accepted as being “optimal” that it’s often written into lease conditions — but it’s actually not a good idea.

Picture by William J Sisti

At The Conversation, University of Sydney expert Richard de Dear notes that the figure is widely quoted and often enforced on a building-wide basis but not backed by science:

There is a widespread belief that the “optimal temperature” for human productivity is 21.5 C. But if you look at the science of indoor environmental quality (my speciality), there’s no basis for this belief. This figure has been picked up and repeated so many times many businesses accept it as the truth, never questioning why so low or so specific. In fact, research demonstrates Australian air-conditioned offices perform better at 24-25 degrees in summer.

The practical consequence of this decision is that offices can often feel too cool, even when they’re hot outside. More significantly, it means we’re wasting massive amounts of energy (and money) making the temperature lower than is sensible.

Is your office too cool or too hot? Does complaining to management make any difference? Tell us in the comments.

Shivering in summer? Sweating in winter? Your building is living a lie [The Conversation]


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