Americans like it hot, but turn that thermostat down

Perspectives

America needs to turn the heat down, starting with USM.

Dorms are blazingly hot, and by about mid-October, classroom windows close, and it feels like the thermostats are set to progressively hotter, whatever the current temperature.

Moisture is sucked from the air while students dizzily try to concentrate on the professor during class. Sure, apparently it’s hard to maintain an even temperature in a large building because, you know, heat rises.  That excuse is satisfying until you realize that the lowest floors of campus buildings aren’t occupied by bursting pipes and polar bears; the floors are at a more than high enough temperature.

We’re all part of the problem. America is a land of extremes, and Americans demand them. Water is served at mind-numbing temperatures, boxing wasn’t violent enough so we invented mixed martial arts, and have you ever seen a Taco Bell Doritos dos locos taco? Ridiculous. Tasty, but ridiculous. Still, what’s more American than straight-faced wandering about in December wearing only a t-shirt? We’ve created a slacker’s utopia where you can leave your overheated house, jump in an overheated car, and spend the day at an overheated office, all while dressed like a teenager on the way to a water-park.

Ordinary Americans aren’t the only ones enjoying the artificial luxury of a year-round summer. President Obama, upon moving into the White House famously broke protocol by going sans-jacket in the Oval Office. The reason? “He likes it warm”, President Obama’s senior advisor David Axelrod said to the New York Tiimes in 2009, “You could grow orchids in there.”

Building temperatures are high around the country because many of us refuse to dress for the season. Some of us don’t dress for the season because if we do, we’ll be unbearably hot indoors. Right now there is no need to dress appropriately because we burn oil like it’s free.

Here’s some context, the average temperature setting in the United Kingdom is 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit, while the United States’ average is a whopping 72 degrees. That’s a massive difference, a massively expensive difference. Heating is the single greatest expense in a building, outpacing even air conditioning, and unsurprisingly, it’s not an eco-friendly expense.

Overheating can cost your health, as well as your wallet.The 2009 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation study found that overheated homes saw greater levels of sickness.

There’s a two-part solution to this problem. First, people shouldn’t expect to be accommodated when they refuse to pack a sweater. Second, colleges need to stop cooking their students alive. Do we have a deal?

 

Alexander R. van Dintel is a

senior political science major.

USM

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