In the building trade, energy efficiency is one phrase that’s on everyone’s lips. As a sure-fire way to cut bills and carbon footprints, making buildings more energy efficient makes sense for developers and consumers.
From a trade perspective, getting to grips with energy efficiency – and being able to ‘plug the gaps’ in customers’ properties – opens the door to some serious business opportunities.
So, just what are the challenges when it comes to improving buildings’ energy efficiency? And how can thermal imaging help?
Why heat loss matters
Whether it’s investing in greener methods of generating heat and power, or finding smart ways to cut down on usage, it’s definitely possible to improve a property’s energy efficiency. In most existing buildings, the first step is tackling heat loss (where energy is wasted through gaps in the building’s envelope).
Because of common problems like poor insulation, draughty windows and doors and outdated ventilation systems, residents of many homes and businesses are literally paying to heat the street. Heat loss can become a huge issue (and cost a fortune in wasted energy to boot). That’s why finding and fixing problem areas is the first step for tradespeople looking to improve a building’s energy efficiency.
Boosting energy efficiency with thermal imaging
Thermal images use infrared technology to visualise temperature and temperature variations – and they’re one of the simplest (and most effective) ways to showcase a property’s heat loss to its owner.
Using a thermal imaging camera, you can see immediately where and how heat is escaping from buildings. What’s more, you can make informed decisions about how best to stop it.
Monitoring heat loss with a thermal camera… saves time
Monitoring heat loss with a thermal camera could be as extensive as carrying out a full heat survey, or it could just be a case of checking up on certain rooms or measuring the output of one particular boiler or radiator. Whatever it is, it saves time; and once you’ve found the problem, you can get to work to fix it.
How to perform an energy efficiency check with a thermal camera
- Choose the right conditions. The best time to spot heat loss from a building with a thermal imaging camera is when it’s cold outside.
- Switch on the heating. This will enable you to use thermal imaging to see exactly where heat is leaking from the property.
- Fire up your thermal camera. Go outside and view the building from all angles. Using thermal imaging you can visualise heat signatures instantly.
- Go inside the property and repeat. You’ll see exactly where the cold spots and problem areas are, and where you need to make energy efficiency improvements to prevent heat loss.
- Don’t forget ventilation. For a healthy indoor environment, every building needs adequate ventilation, and this will cause some heat to escape. What you’re looking for with your thermal camera is areas of unusually high heat loss (e.g. through inefficient windows or poorly insulated roofs).
The Cat S61 and Cat S60
The world’s first thermal imaging smartphones
Their thermal imaging technology is so powerful that it can even measure temperature contrasts in total darkness, or through obscurants like smoke
Both the Cat S61 and Cat S60 use FLIR™ Lepton and MSX thermal imaging technology to highlight temperature contrasts: visualising heat that is completely invisible to the naked eye (from up to 30 metres away, or to a depth of 15 metres).
Thermal imaging on the Cat S61
- An expanded measurable temperature range of up to 400°C (compared to up to 120°C on the Cat S60)
- An upgraded camera (from VGA to HD detail), to give you unmatched image optimisation.
Spot heat loss with the in-built thermal imaging camera
Builders, plumbers, building services and maintenance engineers and other construction professionals can use their phones to locate areas of high heat loss quickly and easily.
In a typical building, problem areas highlighted by thermal imaging camera phones available from Cat phones might include:
- Gaps around doors and windows (especially in older properties)
- Ceilings, external walls and internal walls (often behind radiators or around damp and cold spots)
- Chimneys and roofs
- Poorly insulated pipes or under-performing radiators
- Old extractor fans or gaps in lighting fixtures/pipework
- Gaps in floors (especially wooden floorboards).
How does the thermal camera work?
- Simply fire up the app and point the phone’s rear camera to instantly visualise temperatures on the screen as heat signatures (easy to identify and easy to track)
- The app is self-calibrating for best accuracy, and you can customise your view to find the optimum settings for each job
- The MyFLIR app can also display area averages, screen averages or spot measurements, with up to three movable spot meters to measure specific temperatures
- Use the app to create thermal photos, videos, time lapses or even broadcast live – so sharing information with your customer is completely hassle-free.
Fixing heat loss to improve energy efficiency
In-built thermal imaging makes diagnosing wasted heat in buildings straightforward and speedy, so tradespeople can concentrate on fixing problem areas and improving energy efficiency.
Ways to improve energy efficiency:
- Increasing insulation (e.g. loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and solid wall insulation)
- Internal and external draught-proofing (e.g. fitting door seals, letterbox brushes and filling gaps in wooden flooring)
- Servicing or upgrading radiators (using your Cat phone’s thermal imaging camera to compare thermal performance before and after)
- Treating windows and window frames to stop heat escaping (or fitting double/triple glazing for the best results)
- Insulating pipework and fitting radiator reflectors
- Filling cracks and gaps in flooring and around fittings/fixtures
Diagnose damp, draughts and leaks in seconds – with thermal imaging in your pocket
Ultimately, when it comes to heat loss, having access to thermal imaging in your pocket helps you get to the root of the problem quicker. Diagnose damp, draughts and leaks in seconds – so you can help your customer find a resolution, become more energy efficient and save money in the long run.
Thermal imaging and more
All rugged Cat phones are built to survive, with unstoppable durability matched by cutting-edge technical performance.
Cat S61 – bigger, better, bolder
Bigger, better and bolder, the new Cat S61 smartphone is packed with professional tools to help you get the job done.
All this is backed by military-standard resilience, reliable waterproof performance and a powerful battery, to really keep you going when the going gets tough.
Find out more