Thought Leadership

Keeping the caveman warm – HVAC blog

By Robin Bornoff

We knapped our first flints about 2,000,000 years ago and started to shelter from the elements in caves and simple huts about 200,000 years ago. As industries go the building industry is probably the oldest, well maybe second oldest. Our ability to both adapt to and manipulate our surroundings has set us apart from the beasts on a path of science, art and technology.

Over the coming weeks, months and years (how’s that for a commitment) I’ll be discussing various issues associated with the more technical aspects of heating, ventilation and air conditioning. I’m a product marketing manager for the CFD based HVAC simulation software tool FloVENT (no, nothing to do with ventilators, that’s the other Flovent), developed and provided by the mechanical analysis division of Mentor Graphics. I’ll try to keep things somewhat vendor neutral but of course will fail in that. I’ll be using FloVENT to expand on some basic HVAC principles, explore some theory through numerical simulation and try to clarify some of the industry specific terminology that architectural consultants tend to use to bamboozle the general public.


Underpinning Maslow’s hierarchy of the needs of man is the basic physiological requirement of shelter (though according to my 13 year old son underpinning that is the need for XBox and an internet connection). From the cave to the skyscraper the protection and comfort our built environment affords us is a central part of our lives and HVAC is a central part of that.

11th January 2010, Ross-on-Wye

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at