Login



Peak Oil is You


Donate Bitcoins ;-) or Paypal :-)


Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperature?

How to save energy through both societal and individual actions.

Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperature?

Unread postby HamRadioRocks » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 00:37:44

A 72-degree room feels comfortable only in the spring and fall.

During the winter, I find 72 degrees is too warm. That's how warm my workplace is. I have to come to work wearing a business casual short-sleeved shirt under my sweater (or two sweaters), as stripping down to my undershirt would be inappropriately sloppy attire. In winter, my definition of a comfortable room temperature is lower, because I'm wearing more clothing, and I'm used to the cold. The occupational hazard of conserving energy at home by turning the thermostat down is the discomfort I feel in places where the powers that be insist on using excessive heat. I notice this even more starkly now that I'm keeping the thermostat at only 59 degrees instead of the 67 degrees I maintained before I discovered peakoil.com. Remember also that I'm much thinner than everyone else (BMI just below 20, which puts me in the bottom 10%), so everyone else should be able to handle lower temperatures than I can.

In the summer, on the other hand, I find 72 degrees to be too cold. If I'm wearing a T-shirt and shorts, I shiver and get goosebumps at 72 degrees, especially if I'm sitting still and am used to the heat. In summer, my definition of a comfortable room temperature is higher, because I'm wearing less clothing, and I'm used to warmer temperatures. The occuptional hazard of conserving energy by raising the thermostat (I set the window thermostat to maintain an inside temperature of 79 degrees) is that I easily get cold everywhere else.

So given all this, why do people have the idea that the object of climate control is to maintain a constant 72 degrees inside all year long? I only find that temperature comfortable during the mild seasons of spring and fall, when the great outdoors don't subject me to extreme temperatures and when my attire is neither very heavy nor very light.

It also can't be healthy to keep swinging back and forth between heat and cold. I can adjust to the heat, I can adjust to the cold, but I can't adjust to both at the same time. It seems to me that spending too much time in overheated rooms in winter would make a person more vulnerable to frostbite and hypothermia, and spending too much time in over air-conditioned rooms in summer would make a person more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

These artificial temperature extremes that clash with the predominant outside environment (which is what I dress for and try to adapt to) is one thing that I won't be missing in the Post Peak World.
User avatar
HamRadioRocks
Coal
Coal
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed 19 Jul 2006, 02:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby Narz » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 00:41:35

Dunno, I prefer about 60-70 myself. My girlfriend runs cold so she prefers more heat (she'd probably be happy at 75).
“Seek simplicity but distrust it”
User avatar
Narz
Fission
Fission
 
Posts: 2336
Joined: Sat 25 Nov 2006, 03:00:00
Location: the belly of the beast (New Jersey)

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby NeoPeasant » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 09:13:35

I have been trying to adapt myself to as wide of a temperature comfort zone as possible. The smaller the difference between the the temperature of the space you are heating or cooling and the outdoor temperature, the less energy you use. I might be wrong but I think energy consumption goes up exponentially as the temperature difference increases.
The battle to preserve our lifestyle has already been lost. The battle to preserve our lives is just beginning.
NeoPeasant
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1003
Joined: Tue 12 Oct 2004, 02:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby Ancien_Opus » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 09:34:23

A statisical analysis by Dr. Kano explains this phenomena.

Essentially you're dealing with a population where the comfort zone
is the point at which the greatest number individuals in the population
are satisfied. This attains the greatest satisifaction for the greatest number of individuals. Moving away from the central satisfaction point such as up or down the temperature scale yeilds more dissatified individuals.

If you look at any single individual they may be more or less comfortable at 72 degrees. It is a compromise for the benefit
of the largest group of individuals. This should not be confused with
the majority because that point is the inflexion at which less than
half of the population is satisfied.

Your personal room temperature is a matter of choice where as
room temperature for a group is a matter of compromise.
User avatar
Ancien_Opus
Tar Sands
Tar Sands
 
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu 21 Jul 2005, 02:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby gg3 » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 10:53:47

Yes, room temp for a group is going to have to be a compromise: between soaring fuel costs and whining crybabies.

I say 60 in the winter and 80 in the summer and adjust the clothing.

Few things feel as cozy as putting on a pair of long johns on a chilly day, or as relaxing as running around the house in underwear in the summer. Climbing into a bed piled high with quilts and blankets is the archetypal example of a critter getting snug in its nest.

I've taken to wearing a scarf as well as a knit cap while indoors. Amazing the difference the scarf makes: I never realized I lost so much heat through my neck when just sitting still.

As for the office dress code, one of the more pleasant challenges of our times is for clothing designers to come up with styles that express the intended moods or cultural connotations while at the same time being conducive to appropriate indoor temperatures. Clothing designers, in fact, could bring about an enormous reduction in our national energy consumption if they put themselves to the task.
User avatar
gg3
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 3272
Joined: Mon 24 May 2004, 02:00:00
Location: California, USA

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby Niagara » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 14:11:36

Much of it has to do with humidity.

In the winter your indoor air tends to be drier. So your perspiration evaporates a bit faster and you feel cooler. In the high humidity of summer it's the opposite.
Remember: 73.3% of statistics are made up
and the other 23.6% are wrong
User avatar
Niagara
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 610
Joined: Thu 17 Aug 2006, 02:00:00
Location: Mt. Hubbert Scenic Lookout

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby Tanada » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 18:48:02

HamRadioRocks wrote:So given all this, why do people have the idea that the object of climate control is to maintain a constant 72 degrees inside all year long? I only find that temperature comfortable during the mild seasons of spring and fall, when the great outdoors don't subject me to extreme temperatures and when my attire is neither very heavy nor very light.



Because I work outside every day I know exactly what you mean, however most people go out the door of the house into their attached heated (or cooled) garage, use the remote door opener to exit the building, drive in a toasty warm (or cooled) car to their destination, make a mad dash from the closest parking space they can find and spend the work day in a toasty warm (or cooled)building. After work they make a mad dash to their remotely started and warmed up (or cooled down) car, drive home to their remotely opened heated (or cooled) attached garage and thereby reenter their warm and toasty (or cool and comfortable) home.

At least that sure is the image I get from the mass media!

Therefore the average person does not adapt to weather, they avoid experiencing it as much as possible.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
User avatar
Tanada
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8532
Joined: Thu 28 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South West shore Lake Erie, OH, USA

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby BurnCalories » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 19:09:20

While internal body temperature is 98.6 degerees+/-, the temperature of the skin is usually around 72-76 degrees. That is why a temperature around that range is usually comfortable. In the winter you would normally be wearing more clothes, so a lower temp would feel better.
User avatar
BurnCalories
Coal
Coal
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue 07 Mar 2006, 03:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby Tyler_JC » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 19:26:25

BurnCalories wrote:While internal body temperature is 98.6 degerees+/-, the temperature of the skin is usually around 72-76 degrees. That is why a temperature around that range is usually comfortable. In the winter you would normally be wearing more clothes, so a lower temp would feel better.


That seems to be the case basd on what I've heard as well.

My mother is a human palm tree. Anytime a room drops below 70 degrees she heads for the space heater/thermostat.

I guess growing up in the South will do that to a person. She could very easily adjust to living without air conditioning.

Unfortunately, her co-workers are local New Englanders who melt in anything above 75 degrees in the summer time. So she had to get an A/C installed for their offices.

Everyone has a different idea of "comfortable".

Someone did the math and found out that 72 degrees brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number.

I guess the Utilitarians win this round...
"www.peakoil.com is the Myspace of the Apocalypse."
Tyler_JC
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 5438
Joined: Sat 25 Sep 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby rockdoc123 » Thu 08 Feb 2007, 21:20:37

Most people who visit us hate us...we keep the thermostat low enough during the winter that we always have to wear a fairly thick wooly jumper. This is partly because we don't see any need to burn more energy than necessary and partly because we grew up in families where....well that's just what you did. Our house is now pretty efficient and one of the things I did was install a fireplace that works as a wall furnace in our lowest floor. It puts out a ton of heat and is incredibly more efficient than any of the real high efficiency furnaces. So when the air gets a wee bit nippy we just crank up the fireplace for a half hour or so and the whole house is pleasantly warm. Because the back of our house is south facing and has a lot of windows and tons of insulation our furnace only comes on very late at night during peak winter time.
I'm a firm believer in "all problems can easily be solved by a hot mug of tea and and a wooly jumper". In fact I'm thinking of patenting this as a means to world peace. ;-)
User avatar
rockdoc123
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 4120
Joined: Mon 16 May 2005, 02:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby snax » Sat 10 Feb 2007, 12:08:48

I've always tried to live by the lowest common denominator that one can always put on more clothing, but if you are sitting around sweating in your underwear, there's little left to do about it except lowering the thermostat or finding some place cooler.

After 4 years of being together, I've finally got my wife convinced that it doesn't have to be 70 in the house all day during the winter, so we now get by on 68 from 6AM to 9PM. This has the added benefit of me not complaining about an overheated house when she bakes, since at worst, the temperature only jumps as high as 70 most of the time.

So, if you have a partner that seems always chilly and enjoy their baking, you know what to encourage.
User avatar
snax
Coal
Coal
 
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat 20 Jan 2007, 03:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby skyemoor » Sun 11 Feb 2007, 07:57:47

Gideon wrote: I will not be uncomfortably cold or wear coats and scarves in the house until I have no other option. I want to help save the planet, but if that means I wear a coat and a hat in the house, then I'm not sure what the point of living would be - to be chronically uncomfortable?


That reminds me of what my father-in-law said. I have been slowly educating him over the last few years about PO and AGW. His initial thoughts were that both were hogwash (he was watching FauxNews exclusively), but now believes that both are serious issues that need action to address. However, he says,"But don't expect me to stop waterskiing or driving less. And I still need my V8 car to haul my ski-boat. And while I walk 5 miles a day for exercise, there's no way I'll walk 2 miles to run a simple errand, because no one else around here does".

In other words, "Why aren't all the other people changing their lifestyles?"

Soon enough, your lifestyle will be changed for you...

In most areas of the US you can get cord wood and heat with that for less than NG or Oil or Electric.

Tighten up your house, heat with wood, at least in part, and be warm for God's sake.


In other words, induce peak wood, instead. I'll give you credit for suggesting that infiltration be reduced, though I also note in another thread that you like to keep the A/C in the 60s in the summer. Addiction to comfort is still addiction, no matter how you try to spin it.

If you want to truly make a difference, try changing your supply to an inexhaustible supply from the sun. Some wood heating is ok, but not all winter and at high indoor temps. Such a solution would strip the forests bare.

We built a passive solar house, so most of our heat is satisfied that way, while we do gap-fill the extreme spots with a high efficiency stove, closing off rooms that we don't need to be in. In the summer, we don't turn on the AC until the forecast exceeds 85 and humid, and even then we cool the house down before dawn while the amount of energy needed is low. Our thick insulation keeps the house cool most of the rest of the day (we let the temp drift up to 78F).

Our summer electric bills are about 1/6th that of our neighbors, though our 2 KW PV array further reduce much of what our conservation mindset and very energy efficient appliances already offset.
http://www.carfree.com
http://ecoplan.org/carshare/cs_index.htm
http://www.velomobile.de/GB/Advantages/advantages.html

Chance favors the prepared mind. -- Louis Pasteur

He that lives upon hope will die fasting. --Benjamin Franklin
User avatar
skyemoor
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1511
Joined: Sat 16 Oct 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Appalachian Foothills of Virginia

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby mommy22 » Sun 11 Feb 2007, 10:12:31

In our home, we keep the temps at about 68 from 8am-3pm, also from 10pm-5am. At the other times, we put it up to 71 while we are getting ready for work and school, and when the kids come home from school. It's not worth it for everyone to be too uncomfortable. I wear my woolies and love the feel of a scarf around my neck all day...it does make a huge difference.
Our family has lived in many places...some hot (south Florida) some cold/hot (Ohio) and some just right (Belgium/France) (thank you Goldilocks) One's body changes with the different climes, and you try to do what the situation calls for. I remember visiting some incredible cathedrels in France, and they were downright cold in the early spring once. I asked how the people at the time (1000 years ago) could handle this level of chill, and the answer was that they were used to that level of chill...their bodies adjusted to it, and really, they had no other choice. When things change for humanity in coming years, I imagine that we may need to reacclimate our bodies to local temps, and just deal with it, no matter the lack of comfort. (Wool makes the warmest scarfs...I don't like synthetic)
User avatar
mommy22
Heavy Crude
Heavy Crude
 
Posts: 271
Joined: Fri 22 Jul 2005, 02:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby frankthetank » Sun 11 Feb 2007, 12:03:56

When i'm out hiking in the woods i try to calculate how many of the trees i see will be needed to heat my area of roughly 70K. I figure most of the bluffs around here will be rocky outcroppings with little/no vegetation due to mass wood removal for heating...within 50yrs, my guess being :)
lawns should be outlawed.
User avatar
frankthetank
Anti-Matter
Anti-Matter
 
Posts: 6120
Joined: Thu 16 Sep 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Southwest WI

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby eastbay » Tue 13 Feb 2007, 18:48:22

I'm with gg3 here.

Generally 60 in winter and 80 in summer is ideal. Today it's 47 outside and 59 inside. We have the heater off. I'm barefoot, wearing a long sleeved t-shirt and sweat shirt. Adding more heat in the house only serves to increase the craving for more and more heat adding nothing to comfort.

It's the same in summer. Last summer we left the ac off other than a few 'tests'. It reached 90 once inside. So what. Generally late afternoon was mid 80's inside and no one got sick or died. A gentle breeze with the open window was perfect.

I bet energy companies started that silly 72 degrees nonsense. 72 degrees has nothing to do with comfort.
Got Dharma?

Everything is Impermanent. Shakyamuni Buddha
User avatar
eastbay
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 7184
Joined: Sat 18 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: One Mile From the Columbia River

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby ThePostman » Sun 18 Feb 2007, 12:33:26

BurnCalories wrote:While internal body temperature is 98.6 degerees+/-, the temperature of the skin is usually around 72-76 degrees. That is why a temperature around that range is usually comfortable. In the winter you would normally be wearing more clothes, so a lower temp would feel better.


I heard something to that affect only a little different. 72 is the "average" differential between our body temp and the clothes we're wearing.
I grew up in Hawaii and was cold below 75. Now that I've been in the NW for 10 yrs, I think anything over 60 is hot since I try not to heat my house at all. Life tends to get a bit fluffy at times and we sometimes forget to test our innate survival instincts. I'm guessing my house in the 40's would seem hot to an eskimo.
"I invoke law 7 of the laws of 8..."
User avatar
ThePostman
Coal
Coal
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon 03 Apr 2006, 02:00:00

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby Brandon » Sat 31 Mar 2007, 22:30:27

I find 72 to be bone chilling cold. I work in an office where it is set to 72, and thus I wear long underwear year round, plus a sweater in the winter. At home, comfortable is 80 degrees. As I'm in Florida, at home in the winter with the central heat off, it rarely gets below 75, so I just sit in front of a little cube heater. My thyroid has been checked a few times and is normal and I am not over or underweight. I've been like this since I was a kid. I consider myself to be normal and everyone else weird.. :o
User avatar
Brandon
Coal
Coal
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue 28 Jun 2005, 02:00:00
Location: Tampa, FL

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby frankthetank » Sun 01 Apr 2007, 14:02:37

Brandon... I think your climatized. It was 59F when i woke up in the house this morning. Doesn't even faze me now. It was 83F a week or so ago and i was sweating my ballz off.
lawns should be outlawed.
User avatar
frankthetank
Anti-Matter
Anti-Matter
 
Posts: 6120
Joined: Thu 16 Sep 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Southwest WI

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby Denny » Mon 23 Apr 2007, 18:40:10

NeoPeasant wrote:... I might be wrong but I think energy consumption goes up exponentially as the temperature difference increases.


According the the principles of heat transfrer, you are incorrect. The heat transfer is linear with the difference in temperature between indoors and outdoors. One reason it may not seem that way is that your home internal temeprature in winter is also supported by indirect heating - cooking, lighting, even some body heat. Usually, you don't have to inject heat from a furnace until you get below 60 F for a sustained period. But, thereafter it is linear. If you keep your interior at 68F you'll use roughly twice as much heating fuel at 0F as you will at 34F.

An analogy for this heat transfer principle is an electric circuit following Ohm's Law we all lerned in high school. The voltage corresponds to the temperature difference and the insualation constant (R value) corresponds to the electric resistance.
User avatar
Denny
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 1739
Joined: Sat 10 Jul 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Canada

Re: Why is 72 degrees considered comfortable room temperatur

Unread postby PhebaAndThePilgrim » Tue 24 Apr 2007, 14:53:41

Good day from Pheba, from the farm:
Our home is 7 years old. We did not put in air conditioning when we built our home.
We heat with wood fueled from an outside furnace that heats hot water. The hot water runs through baseboard heaters in the house.
Very warm, very cozy. That being said I have just two words for you:

Hot flash!
I can't stand the heat above 65 during the winter, and during the summer we just do the best we can with fans, etc. The house usually stays under 85 degrees except for the hottest summer days. We get by. There is just one problem with not having air conditioning:
Hot flash!
Did I mention that my biggest problem with temperature control is
Hot flash!
Pheba.
PhebaAndThePilgrim
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 290
Joined: Fri 29 Jul 2005, 02:00:00
Location: Show-Me State

Next

Return to Conservation & Efficiency

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests