Friday, August 21, 2009

Life in a land with no A/C

For the first time this summer, we've had hot (97 degrees) and humid (60% humidty) weather. This weather is typically something to cheer for. However in Germany, this weather makes for many sleepless nights and long drowsy days as there is no A/C to keep people cool. A/C it is uncommon here and, in general, not liked.*

My company has no A/C whatsoever. Imagine sitting in an office for 10 hours, on a 95 degree day, in direct sunlight, with no breeze. This makes for many unmotivated, lethargic workers. Many colleagues have their own special "recipes" to keep the air inside the building cool. Mgmt even sends emails containing ideas on how to cool the building. These include: only opening the shades on certain sides of the building at certain times of the day, sitting with the shades, windows, and doors shut in an office, putting more green plants in the office, etc. None of these "recipes" really seems to keep the place cool. The only "recipe" that I've found to work comes from a colleague who uses the server room as his office in the summer (it's the only room with A/C).

Many reasons have been mentioned why we shouldn't have A/C: it's increases the chances of getting sick, our Mgmt lived without it so all employees should be able to cope, causes high electricity costs, etc. My vote is for installing A/C or mandating an extended vacation in August.

*It is common for Germans to not use or like A/C. It is their belief that it greatly increases your chances for sickness. This is such a contrast from the US where it is impossible to find a building without A/C.


  1. Not having an AC sucks - at home or in the office. The AC was always broken in the SAP India office where I worked. I just got an AC in my Philly apartment. I can't concentrate without one!

    Not having an AC is more likely to get you sick. You'll sweat more, get dehydrated, and get headaches.

  2. 1st thing I bought when I moved last year: an A/C!!!
    10 hours in a room with people and 95ยบ??... do they have air freshners at least?

  3. Robin, Not going to lie. I really don't like A/C. It's always turned on too high and I end up freezing!! I do like your idea for mandating an August recess from work though!! And I think we should also add manditory ice cream breaks around 2:30 or 3pm when it really starts to heat up and the lunch food coma is creeping up on us. Think about how much THAT would stimulate the economy AND increase workers moral =) Hahaha!