I Hate Office Buildings

It seems to me that one of the primary purposes of a building is to protect its inhabitants from the outside weather. Whatever the outside weather, the building is supposed to keep us comfortable. So, then why can’t the typical office building manage to keep the temperature regulated?

The building where I work has had a temperature that is suitable for polar bears for the last three weeks, at least. I can only recall two days where the temperature in the quadrant of the building where I sit hasn’t been uncomfortably cold. There’s something wrong when you walk into a building and put on a jacket or sweater to protect yourself from the building’s environment. Indeed, even that sweater or jacket hasn’t been sufficient. My hands have been getting so cold that they hurt. I go to the restroom to run warm water over them.

I’m beginning to understand why people go postal (with apologies to postal workers). We tell the building staff over and over and over and over, yet nothing happens. Perhaps if we start calling in frozen then something will get done.

One comment

  1. I fully agree!!!

    What’s even worse is excessive use of heat in winter. At least when you’re cold, you can remedy that by adding clothing. When I’m in an overheated building in winter, what am I supposed to do? I can only strip down so much before I start violating public decency laws. I can’t believe that I’m better at handling the winter cold than everyone else given that I’m much more likely to wear a hat and gloves outside than most other people, and I’m much thinner than most other people. (Don’t get me started on how hard it is to find pants and belts that fit.) You’d think that having less flesh would make me want warmer rather than cooler indoor temperatures in winter.

    I grew up thinking that heavy sweaters are for winter and short sleeves are for summer. The powers-that-be who control indoor temperatures seem to be trying their best to deprogram me from that kooky notion. If room temperature in winter is supposed to be as warm or warmer than that in summer, I’d love to see how these climate controllers decide whether to use air conditioning or heat on those mild late spring and early fall days when I’m using neither. There should be a wide intermediate indoor temperature range at which neither heat nor air conditioning is required.

    Is it just me, or is has this rampant climate control abuse become much more prevalent over the years? I don’t recall being so cold in summer or so hot in winter when I was a child back in the 1980s. If all the schools now roast the students in cold weather and freeze the students in hot weather, how are the students supposed to learn that sweaters are winter attire while T-shirts and shorts are summer attire? Also, if your body is well adjusted for the over-air-conditioned buildings of summer, how can you stand being out in the summer heat for more than about 20 seconds? If your body is well adjusted for the overheated buildings of winter, how can you stand being out in the winter cold for more than about 10 seconds?

    You’d think that concerns about high energy prices and the environment would lead to warmer indoor temperatures in summer and cooler indoor temperatures in winter. The sad irony about air conditioning is that using it promotes the very heat the users are trying to escape from. Think about it: People turn on the air conditioning to cool off. The air conditioner guzzles electricity (a few thousand watts, compared to 40-120 watts for an inefficient incandescent light bulb), which requires the burning of fossil fuels at the power plant. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air, which promotes global warming, and that means higher temperatures and an even greater need for air conditioning.

    I can’t believe people think President Carter’s thermostat settings (78 degrees in summer, 68 degrees in winter) are harsh and draconian. I grew up thinking that was normal. When I’m wearing a sweater and used to the winter cold, 72 degrees feels sweltering, and mid-70s feels sweltering even without a sweater. When I’m wearing a T-shirt and shorts and am used to the summer heat, 72 degrees will make me shiver, and temperatures in the 60s will numb my hands, face, and body.

    In summer, I air condition my home to only 81 degrees. At the start of the heating season in fall, I heat to only 67 degrees, and I gradually lower the thermostat as we head deeper through fall and into winter and then gradually raise the thermostat in spring. From late January to early March of this year, I had the thermostat down to 58 degrees. Believe it or not, 58 degrees in February didn’t feel colder than 67 degrees felt in September and early October. That’s partly because I became better adapted to the cold and partly because I was wearing heavier clothing (long johns, wool socks, sweater). As cold as 58 degrees may sound to you, that was toasty when compared to the bitterly cold air outside here in Iowa.

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