Using the apparel industry's insulation measure ("clo"), we found how many degrees cooler or warmer attire changes make people. Then we calculated energy savings based on turning a building's AC or heat down by those degrees.
|Dress Change||Cooling Power||Savings for a Three-Story Office Building||Savings for the Empire State Building|
|No suit jacket||-4.0 F||$157||$72,000|
|Short-sleeve shirt||-0.8 F||$31||$14,400|
|Sandals, no socks||-0.3 F||$12||$5,400|
|Six-Month Total||-6.0 F||$235||$108,000|
|Dress Change||Warming Power||Savings for a Three-Story Office Building||Savings for the Empire State Building|
|Thicker Suit||+1.7 F||$462||$212,500|
|Long Underwear||+3.9 F||$1,060||$487,500|
|Six-Month Total||+9.9 F||$2,691||$1,237,500|
|Total Annual Savings||$2,926||$1,345,500*|
*The Empire State Building is in the middle of a $20 million retrofit aimed at reducing annual energy expenses by $4.4 million. If workers simply dressed down there, it could reach 30% of the target savings at virtually no cost.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of Fast Company magazine.