HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the technology of indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. HVAC system design is a subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment perform heating and/or cooling for residential, commercial or industrial buildings. The HVAC system may also be responsible for providing fresh outdoor air to dilute interior airborne contaminants such as odors from occupants, volatile organic compounds (VOC's) emitted from interior furnishings, chemicals used for cleaning, etc. A properly designed system will provide a comfortable indoor environment year round when properly maintained.
In modern buildings the design, installation, and control systems of these functions are integrated into one or more HVAC systems. For very small buildings, contractors normally capacity engineer and select HVAC systems and equipment. For larger buildings, building services designers and engineers, such as mechanical, architectural, or building services engineers analyze, design, and specify the HVAC systems, and specialty mechanical contractors fabricate and commission them.