Room Temperature is now Illegal for Large Businesses

An interesting thing comes to mind when many people look for ideas to ‘make’ others do what they think they should do…. Precedent. Even in Taiwan where precedent does not always apply to legal decisions, there still are quotations of precedent. Recently an example of precedent as a justification in Taiwan is during the rejection of the ECFA referendum, where it is stated that other countries did not vote on NAFTA. Welcome large businesses, we are now going to control your temperature and issue large fines for non-compliance.

New rule will make Taipei businesses warmer next month

By Mo Yan-chih
Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010, Page 2

More than 500 office buildings, department stores, supermarkets and hotels in Taipei will have to keep their air conditioning at 26ºC or above starting tomorrow, after the Taipei City Council passed a regulation compelling private businesses to increase energy saving. The regulation, passed on May 31, sets limits on the use of air conditioners and lighting for private businesses, and the city government will first target more than 500 businesses using more than 100,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month before applying the regulations to smaller firms.

The Department of Economic Development said that businesses will be given a six-month period to adjust. Starting from January next year, businesses whose air conditioning is below 26ºC could be fined between NT$10,000 and NT$50,000.

Representatives from 12 businesses, including Taipei 101 Mall, Pacific Sogo and Carrefour, yesterday joined Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) in pledging their dedication to saving energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Cathy Yang (楊文琪), an assistant vice president at Taipei Financial Center Corp, owner of Taipei 101, said the company had installed energy-saving measures, including using efficient light bulbs and setting higher temperatures for air conditioning to reduce carbon emissions.

The skyscraper’s annual electricity bill is about NT$100 million (US$3,120,000) and the energy-saving measures helped the company save a total of NT$65 million in the past two years, she said.

“It’s a win-win situation for us and our customers. The energy-saving measures saved us money and created a more comfortable environment for customers,” she said.

Hau said the 500 businesses used about 2.57 billion kilowatts last year, or 38 percent of the city’s electricity. Those businesses could save enough electricity to supply about 7,000 households by reducing their power consumption by 1 percent.

“I want to also call on all residents to support this policy and join us in saving more energy,” Hau said.

It would be nice to think that as a business owner, we decide how much energy we use. Considering that we pay for this utility ‘service’, and TaiPower has been aggressive at the flexible rate charges ensuring that they can continue to provide this power. Simple laws of economics suggest that it is in the best interests of a business operator to reduce their power consumption as much as possible.

According to the CAN/CSA Z412-00 – “Office Ergonomics” guidelines which are the reflection of in depth analysis at human behavior in working situations states that in summer with humidity >60% that average room temperatures of 23 – 25.5 should exist in the working environment. However, take a look at the comfort chart below;

CAN/CSA Recommendations
°F °C
78 25 Optimal for bathing, showering. Sleep is disturbed
75 24 People feel warm, lethargic and sleepy. Optimal for unclothed people.
72 22 Most comfortable year-round indoor temperature for sedentary people.
70 21 Optimum for performance of mental work.
64 18 Physically inactive people begin to shiver. Active people are comfortable.

According to ASHRAE 22.5 degrees Celsius is the average recommended ambient room temperature for computer hardware components.

So according to regulations based on in-depth studies and trail-under-fire, we find that the premium operating environment for humans and computers are very close together (21-22.5 degrees). Now, lets make a regulation stating that if a company has a temperature set to < 26 degrees they will be fined NT$10-50,000. This is not a comfortable work environment (and for a westerner is almost torture).

Did anyone consider that eliciting change for reduced energy consumption may be better regulated in altering building code for insulation? Rather than inhumane treatment and another absurd law?


About truthintaiwan
I am a professional working in Taiwan. Unfortunately I am unwilling to disclose my identity for my protection. I only assure you that I am not here teaching English and I have been here for a while.

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