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Summer dress code needs shift
11/8/2004 16:33

While many companies insist employees follow a strict professional dress code, even in the summer, power officials proposed they adjust the policy yesterday.
Electricity officials said that since people have to wear long sleeve shirts or even suits, more power is consumed as offices crank up air conditioners to keep employees cool during hot and humid weather.
"The code is too rigid," said Wang Qinghua, an official with the Shanghai Hunan Electric Power Co, which supplies power to Luwan, part of Huangpu and Xuhui districts, where the office buildings are concentrated.
"It is normal for office workers in long sleeve shirts and suits to set air conditioners below 26 degrees Celsius."
The municipal government recommended offices set air conditioners to 26 degrees this summer to reduce power usage, which drains 25 percent of the city's power supply in the summer that causes chronic shortages.
If all air conditioners are set one degree lower, about 300,000 kilowatts of energy can be saved, officials estimated.
But the government's proposal would be difficult to follow if companies insist on following strict dress codes.
"We have to wear at least long sleeve shirts and ties at work, and suits are recommended to boost the company's image," said Sunny Zhou, who works at a consulting firm.
Energy conservation authorities have encountered many similar cases in spot checks.
"If people wear thick clothes then they set air conditioners at lower temperatures," said Yang Jinde, an official with the Shanghai Energy Conservation Supervision Center.
"The dress code should be flexible, at least in summer with expected power shortages."


Nicholas Ning