Once again, research has revealed an entire new dimension of the role of indoor air quality in determining human health. This new awareness dramatically expands the consequences of a mechanical engineer’s work. As you design and size HVAC systems for a building, think about this: The resulting indoor climate will shape the mental state of the occupants, influencing their moods, thinking abilities, and even their attraction to sexual partners. This means that your job description now includes mental health care.
How can this be? Most of us will agree that our moods are influenced, to some degree, by how healthy and energetic our bodies feel. We now know that each of us are intimately connected to trillions of microorganisms in ecosystems called our microbiomes. In fact, the number of microbes in our individual microbiomes vastly exceed the number of our human cells. Our personal microbiome is a unique and changing population of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live on our skin, in our orifices and digestive tracts, and even insert their genes into our sperm or eggs to be passed onto our children.