Majority of working adults are willing to sacrifice comfort to save energy, says Johnson Controls

Business owners should think twice before tweaking workplace temperature settings this winter. According to a new survey of office workers, 69 per cent said they would be willing to sacrifice their preferred ideal temperature in the office to help their company conserve energy. However the survey also found that nearly four in five participants (78 per cent) say they are less productive at work when they are too hot or too cold.


Johnson Controls commissioned a survey by Harris Interactive of nearly 800 American adults who work in an office setting. The good news: The findings indicate that many workers think their employers could be doing more to be energy efficient. The challenge: Business owners must avoid a negative impact on office productivity and the possibility that workers may take action to circumvent their discomfort, including the use of portable heaters or fans, if temperatures are not ideal.


“Employers may be tempted to turn down the thermostats this fall, but this quick fix could lead to hidden costs,” said Clay Nesler, vice president of Global Energy and Sustainability, Johnson Controls. “Energy efficient systems and equipment is the win-win alternative, allowing businesses to save energy and money without sacrificing workplace productivity.”


Almost all participants said their office has been too hot or too cold at some point (98 per cent) and when that occurs, most (78 per cent) said they are less productive. Not only does workplace productivity suffer, individual actions such as bringing a heating or cooling device into the office result in increased energy use.


  • 49 per cent of office workers have used a fan when it was too hot in their office, and 28 per cent used a space heater when it was too cold.
  • Nearly one-third (30 per cent) have left their office building to take a walk outside when it was too hot or too cold in their work space.
  • 41 per cent have informed their office manager or custodian of their discomfort.
  • Approximately seven in 10 (69 per cent) have adjusted their clothing, such as adding a sweater if was too cold or removing a layer if it was too hot.

Workers expect their employers to take action. The results indicate that forty-five per cent think their employer is not doing enough to make their office environments energy efficient.

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