Freezing AC is status symbol at some Asian offices
In some tropical Asian cities, it’s become a symbol of luxury to keep offices at an arctic chill. Hong Kong may be the world’s coldest city when you’re indoors, say researchers, who found the average office temperature is between 70 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit (72 to 78 is considered the optimum human-comfort range indoors). Workers in one office contend with 64-degree summer cooling — so cold they do yoga in the bathroom to warm up. Patricia Shiu, who actually uses a space heater under her desk to stay warm at her frigid workplace, has joined a resistance movement of “thermal crime” spotters who helped Friends of the Earth compile a list of Hong Kong’s most over-chilled buildings. Not only is it an egregious waste of energy, says FOE, but excessive air conditioning is sexist, favoring men in suits and ties over women in their lighter-weight garb. Since launching its campaign, the group says it’s been getting a lot of technical inquiries from building managers who don’t know how to change the temperature on their AC systems.