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

Interested in having a dialogue about this topic? Post your questions at the Uponor blog where I'd be happy to engage in a Q & A session with you.

Not so Trivial Stuff...

Did you know the temperature of combustion is approximately 3400F (1750C)? This is categorized as an industrial temperature.

Did you also know the temperature range on/in your body is approximately  80F to 100F (27C to 38C)? This is categorized as an a non-industrial temperature.

Ask yourself this one simple question...can we call the creation and use of industrial temperatures for non industrial applications as a sustainable action?

As our clients know, at most all we need to heat people and spaces even in the coldest regions of the planet is 100F (38C)

However, there is an entire industry promoting high efficiency heating systems based on industrial temperatures and yet claiming to be sustainable...

We can't make claims to sustainability if we continue to destroy the potential work available in industrial temperatures used in non-industrial applications.

This is a very big deal!


Did you know, along with gravity and two forces controlling neutrons and protons; electromagnetism (which includes radiant energy) is one of only four known powers governing the universe. The great thing about these forces is they decay, bond, build and connect in a relatively predictive and reliable fashion.

In nature these virtues along with the four elements of earth, wind, water and fire are in one spectrum, nurturing, supportive and dependable.

If you truly understand the philosophical meaning of “sustainability,” you must also understand how words like “nurturing, supportive and dependable” partially define renewable energy system.

So how does this relate to radiant cooling and heating systems?

Well, it just so happens that relative to the industrial quality temperatures we create with combustion and compression, the non-industrial temperatures we need for people and buildings are readily and freely available in radiant dependant renewable energy systems. You see the biggest radiant cooled and heated surface known to mankind is the one we walk on every day – it’s called earth; and just below and above the earth surfaces in relatively short distances one can find all the low-grade thermal energy we need without having to generate industrial-grade temperatures.

In order to engage these readily available non-industrial grade temperatures, we need to detach from our traditional use of small surface area heat exchangers and engage the use of large surface area heat exchangers. Why? Because relative to the energy flux in buildings (Btu/hr/ft2 or W/m2), in heating, a high flux served by a small exchanger needs a high source temperature; and in cooling, a high flux served by a small exchanger needs a low source temperature. Mankind to the detriment of earth’s ecosystems has found it convenient to obtain these high and low temperatures through the burning of fossil fuels. However, with large surface area heat exchangers we only need tepid temperatures similar to those found on and in the human body – and these low-grade tepid temperatures can be found in renewable energy systems.

So where can you find large heat exchanger surface areas which only need low-grade heat? Well, of course the floors, walls and ceilings of spaces. As it happens, controlling the surface temperatures of interior spaces falls directly into the health sciences of thermal comfort in a subset study defined as the mean radiant temperature. According to exhaustive medical research the human body exchanges 50% to 60% of its sensible energy with the surrounding environment via radiation; ergo it only makes sense that we control the radiant exchange; and we can do this with a combination of building enclosure performance, interior design and radiant-based HVAC systems

At the end of the day, radiant floors, walls and ceilings enable the use of low-grade heat, which supports thermal comfort with energy systems that are nurturing, supportive and dependable…and, to me, that has always made so much sense.

Interested in having a dialogue about this topic? Post your questions at the Uponor blog where I'd be happy to engage in a Q & A session with you.

Additional reading:

Factor E5 = Energy • Efficiency • Entropy • Exergy • Efficacy 
Radiant Mythology: Everyday myths about radiant heating and cooling
Thermal Comfort: A Condition of Mind
Thermal Comfort: A 40 grit perspective for consumers
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

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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