Thermal imaging in the community

Author: 10/12/2014

The Foundation is, once again, supporting community groups on thermography projects. Using special thermal imaging cameras, which detect and convert infrared radiation into a visible colour palette, it's easy to be able to show residents where heat is being lost from their property.

The benefits of thermal imaging

Heat loss (as represented by red, orange, yellow and green in the photograph on the left) can also be seen as money leaking away from the property. As the cost of energy inevitably continues to rise, the financial case of taking action to reduce such heat loss becomes stronger. 


Environmentally, there is a significant and urgent need to reduce our carbon emissions right away, as we edge ever closer to the brink of the ‘tipping point’ – that is, the point where irreversible catastrophic global climate change will occur due to increased levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

For many community groups, running a thermal imaging project has become an annual event in the diary, and many requests for properties to be surveyed come from residents who have taken action following a previous survey, and who want to see if their energy-efficiency improvements are succeeding.



In the image on the left, for example, the major area of heat loss is likely to be due to a radiator located under the window. The addition of radiator reflector foil, available from most DIY and hardware stores for just a few pounds, could significantly reduce this heat loss and provide a cost-effective solution to enhance the thermal comfort of the property, reduce energy bills and save carbon.



The conditions for thermal imaging

Thermal imaging has to be conducted in certain weather conditions: in order to achieve a minimum 10C difference between the building and the outside temperature. It has to be a cold evening, at least a couple of hours after sunset to avoid any influence of solar heating, and when the buildings are dry.

Thermal imaging training

We are able to provide training to interested community champions and community groups, as well as an expert to assist with the interpretation of the resulting images, at, for example, public feedback events.

Our training is usually split into three parts covering:

  1. Methods of conducting a project / aims and focus (for example, on particular house-types likely to benefit from available energy-efficiency grants, or to an area more vulnerable to being in fuel poverty).
  2. Practicalities of the project and hands-on with the camera.
  3. Camera parameters and interpretation of images to cover:
  • Thermal bridging.
  • Air leaks.
  • Insulation deficiencies.