Engineering Manager | Trail Runner | Stockholm, Sweden

AC Wars

I have yet to see an office where one of the hot topics of the Summer is not the air conditioning. People sooner come to a consensus in a political debate than agreeing on an AC temperature.

In our case people seem to like to avoid using the cooling system altogether, a policy beyond my ability to comprehend. Our office has windows on only one wall and the security rules require the door to be closed. As a result even though all the windows are kept open – which, in turn, disables the AC – there is no draught, so by mid-afternoon the air becomes stale and void of oxygen. How people can work like that baffles me, to be honest.

I’ve had similar experiences elsewhere in Hungary: people seem to be really averse to air conditioning. Mostly people complain of being cold and have it switched off. If used at all, many try to enforce a 5°C rule for the difference of the outer and inner temperature, claiming anything more is unhealthy. I fail to see the point in having 30°C inside when outside it’s 35°C, though.

The benefits are often ignored, such as having a pollen-free environment, since decent enough systems take care of air filtration as well.

I had a much easier time in Japan where, for example, in the classrooms I was the only person who dared to change the AC settings. The Japanese non-confrontation policy prevented my classmates from complaining much.