Online educational resource on achieving indoor environmental quality with radiant based HVAC systems
Not for profit educational resource on indoor environmental quality.
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Fundamentals of indoor environmental quality / thermal comfort and air quality solutions using radiant based HVAC

Part I - Introduction
Part II - Hormones
Part III - Thyroid


Thermal Comfort: Indeed a Condition of Mind (in simple terms)
Copyright (C) 2012 Robert Bean, R.E.T., P.L. (Eng.) and content providers

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Part II - Neurotransmitters and Hormones Epinephrine and Norepinephrine

We are still doing our literature review on neurotransmitters and hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine and their role in thermal regulation, but wanted to share this animation from the TED Ed library on, "How do nerves work?".

You can read more about nerves and thermal sensors in Part I, but you should know the neurotransmitters referred to in the animation (synaptic transmission, synapse), when related to blood vessel dilation and contraction for thermal regulation is epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Fig. 1 How do nerves work? - Elliot Krane, courtesy of TED Ed
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Suggested study: watch TED Ed video, "How does the thyroid manage your metabolism?

controlling blood flow for cooling and heating regulation of body temperature.

Figure 2. The regulation of blood flow happens when the nerves (yellow) stimulate the artery muscle to contract, thereby maintaining blood pressure. Increase in stimulation causes constriction of the vessel and an increase in blood pressure. Decreases in stimulation causes a dilation of the vessel and a drop in blood pressure. The change in pressure regulates flow just like in a hot water heating system. The warmer the internal body temperature, the greater the blood flow to the skin where heat is radiated, convected, evaporated and conducted away for thermal cooling. Image credit: John Bavosi/Science Photo Library

A Note about Hormones and Stress: Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine

Figure 3. How stress affects your body - Sharon Horesh Bergquist, Our hard-wired stress response is designed to give us the quick burst of heightened alertness and energy needed to perform our best. But stress isn’t all good. When activated too long or too often, stress can damage virtually every part of our body. Sharon Horesh Bergquist gives us a look at what goes on inside our body when we are chronically stressed. Credit: courtesy of TED Ed

More to come!


Figure 1
How do nerves work? - Elliot Krane, courtesy of TED Ed


  1. The Human Body Book, DK Publishing, 2007 Edition

  2. Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, 12th Edition, by Gerard J. Tortora, Bryan H. Derrickson, Wiley & Sons, March 2011/2012

  3. Hall, J., 2011. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology, Elsevier

  4. McAllen RM, Farrell M, Johnson JM, Trevaks D, Cole L, McKinley MJ, et al. Human medullary responses to cooling and rewarming the skin: a functional MRI study. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006;103:809–13

  5. Title, Purpose and Scope of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55Turner, S., What’s New in ASHRAE’s Standard on Comfort, ASHRAE Journal, pages 42-48, June 2011
    H. Rohles , Temperature or temperament: a psychologist looks at thermal comfort. ASHRAE Transactions 86 1 (1980), pp. 5–13. 11.

  6. Solomon, N.B., The Comfort Zone, Architectural Record, McGraw-Hill, April 2011

  7. ASHRAE Bookstore: ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 55 Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy

  8. Bailes, A., Naked People Need Building Science, Energy Vanguard, Dec. 2011

  9. Butler, D., Lessons Learned by a Reluctant Owner-Builder, Energy Vanguard, Mar. 2012

  10. Bean, R., The Big Picture: Enclosures, indoor environmental quality and HVAC systems cannot be treated as isolated and independent systems – they are in fact one of the same, Better Buildings – Beyond the Benchmark,  Fall 2011

  11. Bean, R., Thermal Comfort and Indoor Air Quality, 2012 Conference Slides – Online version (allow 120 seconds to load)

  12. Eccles, R., An explanation for the seasonality of acute upper respiratory tract viral infections. Acta Otolaryngol 2002; 122:183–191. <>

  13. Johnson, C., Eccles, R. Acute cooling of the feet and the onset of common cold symptoms. Family Practice 2005; 22: 608–613. < html>

  14. Eccles. R., Acute cooling of the body surface and the common cold. Rhinology, 40, 000-000, 2002 <>

  15. Bean, R.,  Begin with the End in Mind, Commercial Building Products, March, 2012

  16. Bryce, E. How does the thyroid manage your metabolism? TED Ed Lessons worth sharing

  17. Mitchell, H., Can Going In and Out of Air Conditioning Cause Colds? How exposing the body to extreme temperature swings can lower our natural defenses (content expert, Prof. R. Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University in Wales) Wall Street Journal, Monday, August 19, 2013. Accessed August 23, 2013

  18. Egan GF, Johnson J, Farrell M, McAllen R, Zamarripa F, McKinley MJ, Lancaster J, Denton D, Fox PT. (2005) Cortical, thalamic, and hypothalamic responses to cooling and warming the skin in awake humans: a positron-emission tomography study. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A .102:5262–5267.


Additional information:

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

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