A new study published Monday has finally answered the age-old question asked primarily by women: why is the office so fucking frigid all the fucking time?

The study, entitled “Energy consumption in buildings and female thermal demand,” was published in the journal Nature Climate Change and found that most buildings are still heated and cooled based on a thermal comfort model that was first developed in the 1960s. One of the model’s primary variables is the average metabolic rate of men (specifically a 4—year-old, 154 lb. man). Women’s metabolic rate is significantly lower.

“In a lot of buildings, you see energy consumption is a lot higher because the standard is calibrated for men’s body heat production,” said the study’s co-author Boris Kingma, who is a biophysicist at Maastricht University Medical Center, in an interview with the New York Times. “If you have a more accurate view of the thermal demand of the people inside, then you can design the building so that you are wasting a lot less energy, and that means the carbon dioxide emission is less.”

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Safy and Health Administration recommends that offices keep their thermostats set between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit—but those temperatures suit people differently.

The Washington Post reports that women’s bodies and wardrobes mean that they’ll get colder more easily than men will (obviously):

Men tend to be bigger and heavier than women, meaning they heat up and cool down more slowly. Men also typically have more muscle than women, which helps to generate heat. Women tend to have more body fat, which holds heat into their cores, but can leave them with icy toes and fingers that make them feel colder...

But beyond the differences in our bodies, clothing probably plays an even more important role in keeping men warmer than women. Women have a different wardrobe for warmer weather, including dresses, skirts, sandals, sleeveless tops and lightweight fabrics. Men wear pretty much the same thing as always: long-sleeve shirts, pants, socks and closed-toe shoes.

A building physicist named Joost van Hoof conducted a complimentary study that blames your discomfort on your cleavage.

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“Women tend to dress sometimes with cleavage,” he said to the Times. “The cleavage is closer to the core of the body, so the temperature difference between the air temperature and the body temperature there is higher when it’s cold. I wouldn’t overestimate the effect of cleavage, but it’s there.”

BRB, quickly embroidering “I wouldn’t overestimate the effect of cleavage, but it’s there” onto a pillow.


Contact the author at joanna@jezebel.com.

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