My kids often accuse me of this, or would that be the misconception of cool? Well anyway, what I am talking about to is the placebo effect. You know the idea that by taking sugar pills when we think its Advil our headache amazingly disappears. We have seen these same phenomena with home/business comfort levels as well. It’s even truer when we have direct control over the delivery of that comfort. For example, when we turn the a/c on the first thing that we hear is that delightful sound of air rushing by and immediately provide some relief. Did it instantly get cooler? Did the humidity drop, or did the a/c work so fast that we can have an instant level of relief? Probably not, but just the idea that it’s on its way is enough to feel more comfortable. One of my father’s favorite stories to tell is when he was younger he was working on a large commercial office buildings a/c system where they continually had problems with their air conditioning systems. After they received multiple complaints from the secretaries that worked in this one area of the building, my dad and his coworkers checked everything; took temperatures, checked fans, compressors and everything seemed to be working in good order. So, what they did was observe the area during normal working hours and to see how the a/c was being adjusted. What they found was not at all that shocking. As one person in the office would walk by, they would turn the a/c warmer because they were cold. The next person would walk up to the thermostat because they were hot and turn it down. This continued like this for hours. (sound familiar?) After they observed this for a while they devised a plan, they waited till after hours and installed a thermostat at each desk location for each person to control their own area. It worked like a charm, no more complaints, no more equipment problems, everyone was happy. The really interesting part of this is the thermostats that they installed were about as useful as if you had hung rocks on the walls instead. The thermostats where not hooked up to anything. It was the perception that they could control their area that made it feel more comfortable. The mind is a pretty cool tool.
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