Online educational resource on achieving indoor environmental quality with radiant based HVAC systems
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educational programs on indoor environmental quality

Indoor environments: Self assessment
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The following is a sample self assessment form we use with our clients. Use this in each room and do several assessments throughout the year while planning your new home or renovation. The data from your self assessment can be used to help define your indoor climate expectations with the design professionals (architect, interior designers, mechanical and electrical engineers/technicians); and the general contractor, suppliers and sub trades.

Make note of the general and specific examples given - use these as your guide. To download a blank form, join our Linked-In discussion group and post your request for the password to the Indoor environments: Self assessment form., Indoor Environments: Self Assessment form





Time of day:

What are you wearing while doing this assessment?


What are you doing while doing this assessment?


Part 1) Examples of general elements that you are dissatisfied with:





too hot

no light

too loud

too smelly

too cold

too much light

too quiet


too dry

too bright

annoying sound 

funny odour

too damp

too dark



air speed too high

no privacy



air speed too low




Any other general environmental dissatisfaction?

Consider vibrations or spatial/geometries.  

Part 2) Examples of specific elements that you might be dissatisfied with:





too drafty

too bright in the morning

toilets flushing 

rotten eggs

big temp difference between ankle and head

too bright in the afternoon

draining pipes

dirty socks

air is too cold

too bright in the evening

buzzing lights


air is too hot

too dark in the morning

ground traffic


walls are too cold

too dark in the afternoon

air traffic

rotten food

walls are too hot

too dark in the evening

ocean traffic


windows are too cold

can see neighbour showering

neighbours, barking, domestic


windows are too hot

neighbour can see me showering

high pitch 


floors are too cold

no natural light

low pitch


floors are too hot

too much artificial light

home office equipment, hobbies, music and musical instruments


too much solar heat can't see the outdoors 

HVAC systems yours or neighbours, i.e. combustion fans, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans,


static hair, flaky skin, dry eyes, nose etc.

annoying shadows

noisy appliances (washer, dryer, dishwasher etc.) odours related  to indoor spas and pools
skin feels sticky, air is oppressive

annoying lights from appliances, AV equipment, street lights

  odours related  to sports/gym equipment/facilities

Any other general environmental dissatisfaction?

Vibration examples include: vibrations from road traffic, railways and rail yards, airplanes and airports etc.

Spatial examples; too tight, too close together, too low a ceiling etc.


See below for comments on smells and indoor air quality

To download a blank form, join our Linked-In discussion group and request the password for the Indoor environments: Self assessment chart.

Discussion: One of the key exercises we have clients do is the indoor environmental quality self-assessment report above. The longer and more thorough the report, i.e. the more data you can collect - the better we can be to help prepare you for negotiating with your design professionals, builder, supplier and trades.

This self-assessment is all about you and your indoor spaces. It’s about what you feel, see, hear and smell in various rooms throughout the day and preferably throughout the year while you are planning your new home or renovations.

Why is the report expressed in the negative?

Whilst it’s important to focus on the positive, when it comes to indoor environmental quality humans as a general rule express dissatisfaction rather than satisfaction. For instance try to recall when the last time you said you were completely thermally comfortable in you space. A rare few can make that claim but most people express the negative, i.e. “I’m cold” or “I’m hot”. Certainly make note of things you love in your home and other people’s homes but pay attention to what makes you environmentally uncomfortable because unless you address it pre architectural design you will like have some or all of the same complaints in your new home.

Two things to consider, when it comes to smells; do this assessment first as your sense of smell will “acclimate” relatively quickly, meaning as you remain longer in a space the less likely you will complain about odours – in fact you may have to leave a room for a short period to recalibrate your smell. Secondly, indoor air quality as it relates to the respiratory system should be done with caution. Why? Room contaminants such as particulate matter, VOCs or allergens and pathogens are supported by various combinations of indoor environmental conditions. How they might affect you is beyond the domain of the building scientist. You may say to me whenever I enter this room I get a headache or become congested; and while there could be countless reasons for these discomforts (i.e., lighting, allergens, VOC’s) there could be other reasons beyond the indoor environment which should be assessed under the guidance of a physician.

At the end of the day the above assessment can help you develop a list of expectations to help minimize discomfort typical for most people; it will also help you address discomfort specifically or unique to you and members of your household.

Message: Take charge over your indoor environment or someone detached from your needs will...just something to consider.


Related reading:

Do I need an engineer? A Guide to HVAC/Indoor Climate Design Service Providers
Where will your indoor climate system score?
How to "ball park" your budget for indoor climate control.
Indoor environments: Self assessment
Built to code: What does it mean for consumer thermal comfort?
The Total Comfort System - The "Un-minimum" System
Thermal Comfort: A 40 grit perspective for consumers
Thermal Comfort: A Condition of Mind

Do-It-Yourself HVAC - Should you do it?
The Cost of HVAC Systems - Are You Paying Too Much for Downgrades?
Radiant Installations - The Good, Bad and Ugly
Thermal Comfort Surveys - Post Occupancy, Part I
Thermal Comfort Surveys - Post Occupancy, Part II

For additional support on this topic visit our visitor services page.

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