Physiology and Human Environment
ASHRAE Technical Committee 2.1

Scope of TC 2.1

TC 2.1 is concerned with the relationship of man's living environment, as altered by air-conditioning, heating and ventilating systems, to his comfort, health, and productivity.


The ASHRAE Handbook is published in a series of four volumes, one of which is revised each year, ensuring that no volume is older than four years.  The Handbook can be purchased at the ASHRAE Bookstore by clicking on this link.

This TC is responsible for the following chapters in the Fundamentals Volume

Thermal Comfort
A principal purpose of HVAC is to provide conditions for human thermal comfort, “that condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment” (ASHRAE Standard 55).This definition leaves open what is meant by “condition of mind” or “satisfaction,” but it correctly emphasizes that judgment of comfort is a cognitive process involving many inputs influenced by physical, physiological, psychological, and other processes. This chapter summarizes the fundamentals of human thermoregulation and com-fort in terms useful to the engineer for operating systems and designing for the comfort and health of building occupants.

Various factors make odor control an important consideration in ventilation engineering: (1) contemporary construction methods result in buildings that allow less air infiltration through the building envelope; (2) indoor sources of odors associated with modern building materials, furnishings, and office equipment have increased;(3) outdoor air is often polluted; and (4) energy costs encourage lower ventilation rates at a time when requirements for a relatively odor-free environment are greater than ever.
This chapter reviews how odoriferous substances are perceived. Chapter 46 of the 2011 ASHRAE Handbook—HVAC Applications covers control methods. Chapter 10 of this volume has more information on indoor environmental health.

The ASHRAE HVAC FUNDAMENTALS HANDBOOK may be purchased from the on-line bookstore by clicking on the highlighted text.

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Technical committees develop and sponsor technical sessions at the winter and annual conferences. Information about their future technical program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Program Subcommittee meeting

ASHRAE publishes papers and transactions from presentations at its conference events. In addition, ASHRAE records most of the seminar sessions from its conferences on DVD. These DVDs are ideal for use at chapter meetings, in university courses, or company lunch and learns. Products available from the most recent conference may be found here.


Technical Committees are responsible for identifying research topics, proposing research projects, selecting bidders, and monitoring research projects funded by ASHRAE. Information about their specific research program is discussed at each TC meeting and at the TC’s Research Subcommittee meeting.

This TC has the following research project underway.

The project will identify affordable, efficient and effective solutions for achieving good classroom ventilation, by performing field intervention experiments in classrooms that are occupied and operating normally. Natural, hybrid and mechanical solutions will be compared in terms of thermal control, levels of airborne pollutants and OAS, the energy required by each system in a reference year, and, crucially, whether they actually improve children’s performance of schoolwork.


ASHRAE writes standards for the purpose of establishing consensus for: 1) methods of test for use in commerce and 2) performance criteria for use as facilitators with which to guide the industry. ASHRAE publishes the following three types of voluntary consensus standards: Method of Measurement or Test (MOT), Standard Design and Standard Practice. ASHRAE does not write rating standards unless a suitable rating standard will not otherwise be available. ASHRAE is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and follows ANSI's requirements for due process and standards development. Standards may be purchased at the ASHRAE Bookstore.

This TC is cognizant for the following standard and proposed standard:
ANSI/ASHRAE 55: Thermal Environmental Conditions for Human Occupancy
Proposed Standard: SPC 216P: Methods of Test for Determining Application Data of Overhead Circulator Fans

Other Activities

TIP: If MTG involvement add here otherwise leave blank.

Include other activities, such as MTG involvement, into this section.


ASHRAE Technical FAQs are provided as a service to ASHRAE members, users of ASHRAE publications, and the general public. While every effort has been made to ensure their accuracy and reliability, they are advisory and provided for informational purposes only, and in many cases represent only one person’s view. They are not intended and should not be relied on as an official statement of ASHRAE. Technical questions not addressed may be submitted to the ASHRAE Technical Services department at

This TC is responsible for the following FAQs

How does thermal comfort affect employee productivity? (50)
Is there a thermal comfort standard for the maximum allowable amount of temperature variation between rooms in a residence?  (54)
What is the recommended indoor humidity level for homes?  (65)
What are the recommended indoor temperature and humidity levels for homes?  (92)