PDA

View Full Version : When did 68 degrees become the normal room temperature?


gotpasswords
02-08-2012, 11:09 AM
I'm sitting here thinking it's a bit chilly, so I go to the thermostat and it says it's 68 degrees in this room.

When did 68 become the norm? Back in the old days, we had one of those gold-tone round Honeywell thermostats with a shaded "comfort zone" marked on the dial from 72 to 76. Has it just been in the name of energy conservation that us humans have been asked to withstand cooler homes?

We don't seem to have been asked to endure chilly offices though. Our nationwide corporate specification for office areas calls for 69-71 degrees for heating and 74-76 in summer for air conditioning. Fortunately, I am more comfortable at 70.

jjimm
02-08-2012, 11:12 AM
68F is almost exactly 20C.

Could this be an subtle tip of the hat to international standards - and another step down the road towards one-world government?

leahcim
02-08-2012, 11:27 AM
68F is almost exactly 20C.


Kind of like how human body temperature in Fahrenheit is slavishly quoted as being 98.6, implying accuracy to the tenth of a degree, when it is really just a translation of "37 degrees Celsius".

Rigamarole
02-08-2012, 11:28 AM
Has it just been in the name of energy conservation that us humans have been asked to withstand cooler homes?

Who is asking you that? What makes you think 68 is the "norm"? I don't think your premise is accurate at all.

randomface
02-08-2012, 11:38 AM
My office is set to 72 during the winter and 74 during the summer. My house is set to 65. My parents' house was always set to 74. I don't think 68 is as universal as you think it is.

kayaker
02-08-2012, 11:41 AM
April 16, 1997.

Rachellelogram
02-08-2012, 11:41 AM
I'm most comfortable in the late sixties indoors (and it could get cooler at night, and I'd be fine because memory foam holds body heat very well). Around 72 I start to feel uncomfortably warm. It's easy to put on a light sweater if I'm a little chilly. I suppose it depends whether you like to wear clothes at home, or be naked. Lots of people seem to like running around starkers at home, so I imagine they'd want the temperature warmer.

Gary T
02-08-2012, 11:51 AM
When did 68 become the norm? Back in the old days, we had one of those gold-tone round Honeywell thermostats with a shaded "comfort zone" marked on the dial from 72 to 76. Has it just been in the name of energy conservation that us humans have been asked to withstand cooler homes?

What makes you think 68 is the "norm"? I don't think your premise is accurate at all.Au contraire. The premise is accurate.

When I was growing up (50's & 60's) standard room temperature in the U.S. was 72F. In response to the 1973 oil crisis, the government pushed for a number of energy conversation measures, among which were the 55mph speed limit, changes in Daylight Saving Time, and turning thermostats down to 68. Read about it here (http://books.google.com/books?id=1Hj6tJuEWC4C&pg=PA814&lpg=PA814&dq=opec+oil+embargo+68+degrees&source=bl&ots=cWtaQf5J0j&sig=EOV6lqtiy9WUwSJ6mHvNrQzwtS4&hl=en&sa=X&ei=hqYyT9aOHK_5sQLg_M3pBg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=opec%20oil%20embargo%2068%20degrees&f=false) (scroll down a couple paragraphs).

ETA: Not so say that everyone adheres to the 68 standard, but it is the current standard.

running coach
02-08-2012, 12:54 PM
68F is almost exactly 20C.

Could this be an subtle tip of the hat to international standards - and another step down the road towards one-world government?

Chilling thought.

cochrane
02-08-2012, 01:06 PM
It turns my blood into ice water.

tdn
02-08-2012, 01:15 PM
In response to the 1973 oil crisis, the government pushed for a number of energy conversation measures, among which were the 55mph speed limit, changes in Daylight Saving Time, and turning thermostats down to 68.

It was in response to the 1973 crisis, but wasn't it Jimmy Carter who asked us to turn our thermostats down?

Gary T
02-08-2012, 01:21 PM
It was in response to the 1973 crisis, but wasn't it Jimmy Carter who asked us to turn our thermostats down?I think you're right -- government offices went to 68 during the Nixon ear, but Carter urged the general public to follow suit.

brainstall
02-08-2012, 01:39 PM
It became the norm for me when I started having to pay the gas bill to heat the underinsulated house I live in.

tdn
02-08-2012, 01:41 PM
I don't remember him talking about government offices, but I do remember seeing him on TV urging us to turn it down to 68. Not everyone did, but we did in my house.

What year did we stay on daylight saving time? My sister was in junior high and I wasn't yet, so she had to be in 7th or 8th grade. She was born in 1960, so that would have been in... 1973? I remember because my mother was scared about her walking along a highway in the dark.

purplehorseshoe
02-08-2012, 01:47 PM
... We don't seem to have been asked to endure chilly offices though. . .

Every office I've ever worked in, every shopping mall I've every visited, and every movie theater I've ever sat in have all been on the chilly side - very air-conditioned. This may be a regionalism, though - I live in the land of 100+ summers (Tx) so people tend to crank the A/C up to eleven and then just leave it there.

Gary T
02-08-2012, 02:00 PM
I don't remember [Carter] talking about government offices...No, that was done a few years before Carter, under Nixon.

What year did we stay on daylight saving time? My sister was in junior high and I wasn't yet, so she had to be in 7th or 8th grade. She was born in 1960, so that would have been in... 1973? I remember because my mother was scared about her walking along a highway in the dark.From here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1973_oil_crisis#Conservation_and_reduction_in_demand): "Year-round daylight saving time was implemented from January 6, 1974 to February 23, 1975. The move spawned significant criticism because it forced many children to commute to school before sunrise. The pre-existing daylight-saving rules, calling for the clocks to be advanced one hour on the last Sunday in April, were restored in 1976."

TruCelt
02-08-2012, 02:02 PM
It was Carter. He was a lead by example kind of guy, and took to wearing a cardigan around the White House.

The really funny local legend was that when they changed the White House thermostats to 68 degress it caused an increase in the power usage - because the Air Conditioning came on. . .

corkboard
02-08-2012, 03:42 PM
I'm most comfortable in the late sixties indoors (and it could get cooler at night, and I'd be fine because memory foam holds body heat very well). Around 72 I start to feel uncomfortably warm. It's easy to put on a light sweater if I'm a little chilly. I suppose it depends whether you like to wear clothes at home, or be naked. Lots of people seem to like running around starkers at home, so I imagine they'd want the temperature warmer.

Ditto. I always forget how warm my parents keep their house and find myself sweating when I visit them in the winter. We keep our house at 67 in the winter and 74 in the summer, and I'm pretty sure they reverse it.

Aeris
02-08-2012, 03:50 PM
Every office I've ever worked in, every shopping mall I've every visited, and every movie theater I've ever sat in have all been on the chilly side - very air-conditioned. This may be a regionalism, though - I live in the land of 100+ summers (Tx) so people tend to crank the A/C up to eleven and then just leave it there.

I agree. I feel like every office building I've ever been in could save thousands by just taking it easy with the A/C or heat. In the winter I'm all bundled up in my parka and then as soon as I step into the office... *bam* SWEAT. Then in the summer I have a little flowy dress on and I go to work and I freeze my butt off. It's like there's too settings to public buildings: Tundra and Sahara.

Vihaga
02-08-2012, 03:55 PM
Ditto. I always forget how warm my parents keep their house and find myself sweating when I visit them in the winter. We keep our house at 67 in the winter and 74 in the summer, and I'm pretty sure they reverse it.

My parents do this, too. I think my mother likes actively defying the elements.



(We're keeping our house at 66 right now just because pregnancy has made me ridiculously warm. It's usually 68 in winter, 73 in summer.)

Cat Whisperer
02-08-2012, 04:01 PM
Every office I've ever worked in, every shopping mall I've every visited, and every movie theater I've ever sat in have all been on the chilly side - very air-conditioned. This may be a regionalism, though - I live in the land of 100+ summers (Tx) so people tend to crank the A/C up to eleven and then just leave it there.
We have the opposite problem here - the heat cranked up in the malls when we're all shopping in winter boots and parkas.

We keep our house at around 68 all the time, too. We don't have AC, so it is whatever temperature it is in summer. Once we insulate the attic properly, I think it will get cooler in here in summer. We don't have super hot summers here, and we can head down to the basement in the few really hot days we get.

zweisamkeit
02-08-2012, 04:34 PM
Yeah, every office I've been in is usually kept too fucking cold (though to be fair, it tends to be women who will be cold and men will feel fine, IME). The same goes for grocery stores year round. Trader Joes is particularly chilly around here.

Most other public/commercial spaces follow the moronic, energy-inefficient "set the temperature opposite the season!" method. Air conditioning will be absolutely FRIGID in the summer and then the heat will blast full force in the winter. Your interior temperature should not be colder in the summer than it is in the winter. :rolleyes:

chiroptera
02-08-2012, 04:43 PM
I keep my house at 65 in (Michigan) winter - I'm gasping for air when it's over 70!

I do remember houses in the U.S. being warmer in years past, though. On the other hand, growing up in Scotland in the 60s and early 70s, seems to me that people kept houses - and schools and commercial buildings - colder, and simply wore an extra layer or two. Or were more cold-resistant.

Kimballkid
02-08-2012, 04:55 PM
It's like there's too settings to public buildings: Tundra and Sahara.

There's "too" settings alright: too hot and too cold.

ShelliBean
02-08-2012, 06:34 PM
Our house is 68 in the winter, 78 in the summer. I am FUCKING FREEZING. I have negotiated a 1 degree increase to 69, and I keep blankets around. I swear when I get a job I'm cranking the thermostat first thing!

Rhiannon8404
02-08-2012, 07:15 PM
Our house is 68 for winter (off over night) and 78 for summer. Unlike ShelliBean though, I am not freezing; I am comfortable at that temperature. I would have it cooler in the summer if I could afford it.

thirdname
02-08-2012, 07:22 PM
Most other public/commercial spaces follow the moronic, energy-inefficient "set the temperature opposite the season!" method. Air conditioning will be absolutely FRIGID in the summer and then the heat will blast full force in the winter. Your interior temperature should not be colder in the summer than it is in the winter. :rolleyes:
That really bugs me; it should be the opposite. People dress for the season and room temperatures should take that into account. In the winter I'll wear warm clothes, and then when I go into a store and it's really warm I'll start sweating. In the summer, I'll wear shorts and a t-shirt because it's hot outside, and I'll be sweating, and then I'll go into a cold store and freeze my ass off.

Desert Nomad
02-08-2012, 07:25 PM
65 in the winter, 75 in the summer.

Musicat
02-08-2012, 07:28 PM
In the energy crisis days, 68F was urged in the winter, 76F(?) in the summer. Both are not burdensome for human habitation, but save a little bit of energy, and saving energy was the name of the game then. It was a brand-new concept.

Musicat
02-08-2012, 07:30 PM
Our house is 68 in the winter, 78 in the summer. I am FUCKING FREEZING. I have negotiated a 1 degree increase to 69, and I keep blankets around. I swear when I get a job I'm cranking the thermostat first thing!Have you tried an electric blanket (cheap to buy and run!)? My house is 50-55F at night and I'm jes' fine, under the covers.

ShelliBean
02-08-2012, 07:53 PM
I have been keeping a heating pad on the couch. I really should have already looked in to an electric blanket!! I am perpetuating the stereotype of the frozen girl in a house full of boys that don't feel cold in freezing temps - my kids have learned "well now I have to put on a coat because Mom is cold".

But I will see about picking one up - thanks for the suggestion! I am in AL and am perfectly fine during the summer here while everyone else is reaching for an oxygen tank. :)

Ruken
02-08-2012, 09:05 PM
Huh, I didn't realize 68 was standard. My thermostat is set to 55, but my thermometer says 58; I'm not sure which is correct. It's too cold for me to comfortably lounge about naked, but I own clothes.

The temperature at work varies significantly, but I'm pretty sure it's usually low 70s. Labcoat + glovebox + warm lab means I get kind of gross on warm* days.

*That's warm inside, which has little to do with outside temperature.

JoelUpchurch
02-08-2012, 10:21 PM
The NIST standard is 20 C. Most precision length standards will specify that they were measured at 20 C.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_conditions_for_temperature_and_pressure

Cat Whisperer
02-08-2012, 11:32 PM
I have been keeping a heating pad on the couch. I really should have already looked in to an electric blanket!! <snip>How about electric blanket on the couch and electric mattress pad on the bed? I haven't tried one yet, but I've heard people who have them swear by them - it's one of life's great pleasures, to get into a warm bed in winter.

littlespeedysuperbike
02-09-2012, 12:34 AM
The bigger the building, the hotter it'll be with no heating or cooling supplied.

For small buildings, it's more energy-efficient for it to be just warm enough for the occupants to not squawk when it's cold and just cool enough that you barely avoid condensation on the air handler's coils when it's hot.

For big buildings, it's most energy efficient to let it be as hot as the occupants can tolerate almost all year round.

ShelliBean
02-09-2012, 12:42 AM
How about electric blanket on the couch and electric mattress pad on the bed? I haven't tried one yet, but I've heard people who have them swear by them - it's one of life's great pleasures, to get into a warm bed in winter.

Ooooh that sounds toasty! I'll definitely have to check that out! I had not considered a mattress pad and it sounds fabulous. Barring that I may start walking around with a lit torch and install holders on the wall... :) y'all are great - thanks for the suggestions!

Chronos
02-09-2012, 12:56 AM
Personally, I go with ambient or 60, whichever is warmer. I've never lived anywhere where AC is necessary: On the handful of days each year when it's Just Too Damn Hot, you just stay late at the office, or go see a movie, or something.

Ruken
02-09-2012, 06:52 AM
The NIST standard is 20 C. Most precision length standards will specify that they were measured at 20 C.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_conditions_for_temperature_and_pressureChemists, when we aren't being lazy, will report the temp at which we performed reactions. It's not unusual to just report "RT", because +/- a few C often doesn't matter much. However, when I do see room temperature specified, 23 C is pretty popular. That's ~73 F, a bit toasty for my tastes, but YMMV.

Becky2844
02-09-2012, 07:02 AM
Yes gotpassword, it's something we've been told we all want.
Before the Honeywell golden days were the olden days, when you were either scorched or raw. As someone who froze in the wintertime unless I was standing in front of a fireplace or Warm Morning heater I can attest that you adjusted your own "temperature requirements" by how far out you could stand to be in the room.
Spring and Fall were the only seasons that felt "right."
Summer, you sweated and sat out on the porch.

SecondJudith
02-09-2012, 07:15 AM
I agree with the people who like having a slightly colder 'normal' temperature (which is what 68 degrees F seems to be) - it's a lot easier to layer up when it's chilly than it is to take off layers when it's too hot, especially in office/business settings.

I also hate it when buildings crank up the heat in the middle of winter!

maisoui
02-09-2012, 08:33 AM
I worked for years in the service department of an office equipment company. It was 68 degrees in the office all the time, because the showroom (where the sales folk would bring prospective customers to see the different models) was also in the building. We were told that the office equipment worked best at that temperature. It wouldn't do to have the photocopiers jamming while the customers were trying them out... :0)

Where I currently work, it is warmer in the office in the winter, and too cold in the summer, so they are paying extra all year round to make us uncomfortable.

PapSett
02-09-2012, 09:56 AM
When my dad was alive, he kept the house cranked up around 74 in the winter. I was always miserably hot, and when I went to bed, would open my window and turn on a fan. Now that I have control of the thermostat, I usually keep it about 65 in the winter, but if I have been outside and gotten chilled, I'll turn it up to 68 till I warm up. When I go to bed, I turn it down to 62.

control-z
02-09-2012, 03:33 PM
I think it's due to the rising cost of energy and the fact that many people have heat pumps that don't heat that well below 40 degrees or so.

blondebear
02-09-2012, 03:43 PM
We have no heat in our office to speak of. In the winter (such as it is in San Jose), the ambient temperature hovers around 60 degrees. If you want to be warm, you need to bring in a space heater.

even sven
02-09-2012, 04:44 PM
I agree with the people who like having a slightly colder 'normal' temperature (which is what 68 degrees F seems to be) - it's a lot easier to layer up when it's chilly than it is to take off layers when it's too hot, especially in office/business settings.

I also hate it when buildings crank up the heat in the middle of winter!

There are limits to how much you can "put on" in a professional setting. I run a bit cold, and I am absolutely miserable in my office with long undies under my dress pants and a solid suit jacket.

I'm still shaky-cold. If I don't think I'll have important visitors, I can get away with using my outerwear jacket as a lap blanket. But there are limits- I can't very well wear a beanie or gloves at my desk.

Anyway, I like it toasty in the winter. We didn't spend 10,000 years of human history learning how to build houses just to sit around freezing our asses off as if we were still outside.

El Nene
02-09-2012, 04:55 PM
so people tend to crank the A/C up to eleven and then just leave it there.

That's what I do. I've turned the heat on for maybe three days this "winter". Four if you count the time I did it to make sure I still knew how. We keep our joint on the chilly side year round. We have two parrots that would normally live in warm weather climates. They don't seem to mind cold either.

DCnDC
02-09-2012, 04:57 PM
My office is set to 72 during the winter and 74 during the summer.
That's exactly what my office is set at, but the heat never quite gets there so in the winter it's usually about... 68.

Mdcastle
02-10-2012, 11:59 AM
When I was growing up my mother was frugal with the heat and A/C keeping the house at 62 or 64 in the winter and 80 in the summer. Now that I'm paying the bills I keep it at 71 in the winter and 78 in the summer, round the clock.

thirdname
02-10-2012, 05:30 PM
Maybe it's because we're all fatter these days. We have more insulation.

aceplace57
02-10-2012, 06:25 PM
I keep my house 74 degrees in the winter and 76 in the summer. I always have chilled very easily. I hate the cold.

chizzuk
02-10-2012, 09:55 PM
I'm not comfortable at the same temperature in the winter vs. the summer. When it's cold outside, I get chilled easily and need it warmer inside, and when it's hot outside, I'm easily overheated and need it cool inside. So I set it at 74 in the winter and 70 in the summer (my apartment comes with utilities included, so it doesn't cost me more). I guess my body's overly affected by external temps.

Musicat
02-10-2012, 09:56 PM
I'm not comfortable at the same temperature in the winter vs. the summer.If your house is like mine, it is a lot lower in humidity in the winter than summer. That affects our perception of temperature and comfort.

Runs With Scissors
02-10-2012, 11:00 PM
It became the norm for me when I started having to pay the gas bill to heat the underinsulated house I live in.

Same for me, except it's oil.

It used to cost me $275 to fill my tank. Now it costs $700.

68? That's a heat wave in my house.

Enright3
02-12-2012, 05:23 PM
My office is set to 72 during the winter and 74 during the summer. My house is set to 65. My parents' house was always set to 74. I don't think 68 is as universal as you think it is.

I somewhat disagree with this. When the idea of energy conservation was new (believe it or not, in the olden days people didn't care about it as much as they do today) there use to be PSAs announcing how you could just lower winter temp to 68 and wear a sweater, or wear short sleeve light clothing in the summer and move the thermostat up to at least 72 to save more money and energy.

MaddyStrut
02-12-2012, 06:34 PM
That really bugs me; it should be the opposite. People dress for the season and room temperatures should take that into account. In the winter I'll wear warm clothes, and then when I go into a store and it's really warm I'll start sweating. In the summer, I'll wear shorts and a t-shirt because it's hot outside, and I'll be sweating, and then I'll go into a cold store and freeze my ass off.

Yeah. I can't wear a wool blazer to the office in the winter because it's too hot, and I can't wear short sleeves to the office in the summer because it's too cold. Something is wrong there!

My parents set their thermostat to 74, but their house never feels that warm. Something about that house is just cold. Even in the summer, they rarely have to turn on their AC.

Fiddle Peghead
02-12-2012, 06:44 PM
I don't know exactly when it happened, but I do know that, ironically, it's making my blood boil!

Jamicat
02-12-2012, 07:23 PM
In full business attire or sweatin' to the oldies, 68 works.

In full no-bacon-frying attire I choose 78.

John Mace
02-12-2012, 07:56 PM
I go for 66 deg in the winter, with the heat shut off between 10PM and 6AM. At worst, it will get down to 55 at night where I live. I'd rather be a bit on the cool side, wearing a sweat shirt.

In summer, I try not use A/C unless it's really hot, and again I turn it off at night. If the A/C is on, it's set to 75 deg upstairs and 73 deg downstairs. The downstairs stays pretty cool no matter what.

But I live in CA, and we have very mild weather, and it usually cools off nicely at night during the summer.

whiterabbit
02-13-2012, 12:00 AM
I don't have a thermostat (I have baseboard heaters in each room, with separate controls) and need to get a thermometer, but I know 68F is too warm for me except for in the bathroom. I like it chilly. Heck, it's a bit warm in here right now, but I have the heat on as low as it goes and I know if I turn it off I'll forget about it until it gets so chilly in here that the heaters kick themselves back on, which is at something like 45F, which even for me, is too cold for indoors.

I was born for winter. I hate heat, natural or artificial. My office was roasting last week to the point where sitting at my cubicle I started sweating. While sitting. Not cool, in any sense of the word. I don't complain about the cold until it gets into single digits.

Snnipe 70E
02-13-2012, 01:31 AM
We have no heat in our office to speak of. In the winter (such as it is in San Jose), the ambient temperature hovers around 60 degrees. If you want to be warm, you need to bring in a space heater.

Whatr kind of building do you work in?

Most space heaters are against fire codes.

Snnipe 70E
02-13-2012, 02:11 AM
National Energy standards are no energy being used to heat past 68* And no energy cooling below 76*.
I maintain comercial office buildings.
In a owner occupied building the temps may vary between 68 and 76 degrees it is all up to the owners.

In most multi tenant office buildings the building standard is 72*. If I get a hot call and it is 72* or below. After I take temp readings and check to be sure I am not missing anything they get an apology and an explanation of building standard. If I get a cold call and it is above 72* the same thing happens.

As far as some stores being hot in the winter, it is because they are not running the AC. The old Emporium Valley Fair store does not have any heating. The boilers needed retubing around 1985 and were just shut off because 90% of the store did not need heating in the winter. The lighting in the store provides more heat than is needed.

Temperature and confort is a funny thing. In the summer time I will get a hot call at 71* and the same person will call with a cold call at 73* in the winter. It also depends on how busy you are. Someone sitting at a desk all day is going to be cold at 72*. Someone who is moving around is up and down all day will be hot.

Personally I keep our home 65* for heating and 75* for cooling. I now do the Mr. Rodger's thing when I get home. When I get home I put my jacket in the closet and put on a sweatshirt, and after dinner I sometimes sit watching TV with my Blankie.

Best Topics: pronounce tao funny fictional names caustic soda ph chloraseptic phenol conus army mickey drug voyager landing gear do chickens swim define tankoubon prejudice poem propane ice melter runs hits errors heaviest metals friendly orangutan 1you tube flareside pickup straight dope autozone check alternator gattaca dna polio shot scar popeye song planes in formation zaaz 20k price girlfriend wants dp pluggedinonline movies man ballerina melting feta cheese torque wrench accuracy hydrazine tanks presoldered fittings car feelers my cheeks why does smoking look so cool can you reheat chicken wings cost of halibut per pound how much does a breast weigh berger aptitude for programming test how do you know when the stomach flu is gone pizza hut parmesan cheese packets chasing down a hoodoo there in heavy traffic areas, you should wave pedestrians across the street if there is no crosswalk. foil tape for dryer vent fluorescent lights are dim make text to speech beatbox how to say homage how do you spell pigeon att uverse free mcafee difference between pasta sauce and pizza sauce pellet grills vs gas grills give yourself admin rights windows 7 haven't slept in 3 days 2010 hyundai elantra transmission fluid type mucus plug in sinus cavity songs with church bells can you eat poison ivy who closes the door when the bus driver gets off usps first class mail lost what do prostitutes do on their period girl picked up by tornado vietnam war helicopter songs honda shadow 600 vs 750 trees that keep their leaves in winter how does the electoral college help small states no hc road sign pinwheel pinwheel spinning around