Air conditioning: Getting the temperature right
It’s hot! We want to cool down, but we also want to be smart about it. Most appliances that we use to keep us cool use energy, some more than others. A fan won’t cool the room but it will cool the individual. An overhead fan blowing directly on you will make you feel 3°C cooler. Fans are also relatively affordable to buy and install, and cheap to run at only 2 cents an hour. While air conditioners can cost quite a bit more, they are more effective in keeping a room cool. And with some sensible temperature management you can use air conditioning to stay cool and keep costs down.
If it wasn’t for these people we wouldn’t be as comfortable in our homes and offices as we are today. Especially in the middle of a Queensland summer. But what is the perfect temperature to set your air conditioner?
The perfect air conditioning temperature
Research has shown that if you really can’t turn the air conditioning off then you should at least adjust the settings to the ideal temperatures of 25°C in summer and 19°C in winter.
Most offices set the thermostat at 22°C which is reported to be costing the economy billions of dollars and pumping hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unnecessary carbon into the atmosphere. If we all stuck to the 19°C and 25°C rule, Australian businesses could save $100 million and 300,000 tonnes of carbon every year.
Air conditioning wars
We have all worked in offices where there has been the constant arguments over the air con temperatures. Women often turn the temperature up and men constantly turn it down. Scientists have recently discovered that, in the battle of the sexes over office air conditioning, women’s brains work better at higher temperatures. Men, on the other hand, work better when the temperature is cooler.
The study, conducted in Germany, tested the ability of 500 men and women to perform a series of tasks at a variety of temperatures. At higher temperatures, women perform better on maths and verbal tasks while the reverse is true for men. For women, the increase in performance while working in warmer temperatures was “significantly larger” than the decrease in male performance. “Our findings suggest that gender-mixed workplaces may be able to increase productivity by setting the thermostat higher than current standards,” the study found.