Thermal Imaging Project

  • Thermal Imaging


Overview

 

Transition Bath’s Thermal Imaging Project aims to help the residents of Bath reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions by providing low cost thermal imaging surveys. We aim to increase the take-up of recommended measures following surveys by providing low cost materials, further advice and neighbourhood draught-busting groups.

 

This year we have trained over 50 volunteers to use the camera and provide advice on how to make your homes warmer and reduce your energy bills. Many of the measures we recommend only cost a few pounds each and often payback within a year. The project has been run jointly with Energy Efficient Widcombe and Bathford Energy Group.

 

The website aims to provide examples of issues we have already spotted at homes in Bath, advice on how to fix the issues, estimates of the costs of materials and potential savings. We also plan on developing case studies to provide examples of what can be achieved.

Benefits of visualisation

The main benefit of a thermal imaging survey to in the space of 30 minutes identify many issues in a property. Often the insights the camera brings are issues that the home owners were not previously aware of and in other cases it is something they were aware of but until they see the images they haven't had the motivation to fix the problem.

The year's project (winter 2013-2014)

The winter of 2013/2014 was the first time we have run the project and this year was really an experiment to determine the best way of running such a project. We wanted to try to ensure that home owners used the opportunity to make a difference to their homes - so we have been trying to focus on outcomes by trying to encourage owners to fix the problems the camera highlights. We have been running workshops to teach people how to install draught-proofing and insulation, and following a CSE grant we have been able to bulk-buy material allowing us to offer home owners cost effective material to refurbish their homes.

We deliberately decided this year to restrict areas in which we offer surveys to the immediate neighbourhood of our volunteers. We are hoping next year with greater experience and more time to widen the survey area.

We have also experimented with a number of different ways of targeting home owners - this has included poster campaigns, leafleting and word of mouth. We have had a leaflet printed to encourage people to take up our offer of a low costs survey:

 

TBEG TI Flyer p1TBEG TI Flyer p2

 

Training

The initial part of the project focused on training people up to use the camera, this included:

  • an introduction to the general principles of thermal imaging
  • specific instruction on how to use our Testo 875 camera
  • hands-on practice using the camera within the training session and later at the trainees home
  • practice in using the camera's imaging processing and reporting software

Each training session took about 2 hours and we managed to train 20 volunteers this year.

Managing and auditing the project

We also used our first year to work through the logistics of managing and running the project, which included:

  • the use of teamup.com to book the camera as it is a finite resource
  • the development of a google form for recording the details of each survey so we can audit the process at a later date
  • a form for home owners to complete to provide us with feedback on what they thought about the process
  • we are also writing case studies and providing background posts on this website to publicise the benefits of thermal imaging

We are planning on having a 'wash up' session at the end of April to discuss how we felt the project went this year and how we could improve on it next year.

Bulk purchasing of material

 With the aid of a small grant from CSE we were able to bulk purchase material to lower the barriers home owners night have to following our recommendations. The items purchased included:

Material
Radflek Radiator Reflector
Draughtex Floorboard Cord < 3mm
Draughtex Floorboard Cord 2-7mm
Draughtex Floorboard Cord 6-11mm
Stopgap Floorboard V tape
Draught door snakes
Thermal Door Curtain
Door Curtain Rail
Small Chimney Balloon
Medium Chimney Balloon
Large Chimney Balloon
Inflation Hose
Stormguard draught-proofing etc.

Conclusions

This project is still 'work in progress', we hope to learn from of experience our first year to make the project more effective in subsequent years.

If you are a home owner who wants their home surveyed, or are interested in being trained to use the camera and provide surveys or are a another community group who want to share experiences of using a thermal camera please mail us.

 

Green Open Homes Logo


Examples of common problems identified using the thermal imaging camera:

 

 

Radiators

 

 

Heat coming from radiators can be observed from the outside of many solid walled homes in Georgian Bath. The extent of this 'problem' is perhaps the most surprising result from our work to date in Bath. In general we recommend the installation of radiator reflectors which we can supply at about £3 per radiator paying back its investment in under a year.

Missing Wall Insulation or Thermal Bridging

A common feature of many homes in Bath is missing or defective wall insulation of both older and more modern homes. It is also common to see lintels and sills thermally bridging between the outside and inside of a house. Both problems  are very difficult to fix.

The example above shows the high thermal conductivity of 2 high density blocks in a wall surrounded my more thermally insulating thermalite blocks - this information is impossible to see without the camera as the blocks were hidden behind plaster.

Missing Loft Insulation

 

 

Another common problem is missing loft insulation, it is particularly common close to the eaves of many homes. In most cases it is easy to fix by getting the home owner to redistribute the insulation,

In this example there was no loft insulation, in a bathroom which is likely to lead to problems with damp.

Missing Pipe Insulation

 

 

Most houses appear to have their central heating and hot water pipes installed without insulation. In this example the pipe is heating the ceiling void between joists above a ground floor room, which is not a serious problem, but something which should be rectified next time work takes place in the ceiling.

What is more concerning is that pipes below suspended ground floors are also generally not insulated with much of their heating leaking out through air bricks and heating the outside of the house!

Loft Hatches

 

 

It is rare to visit a house and not notice a problem with a loft hatch. The insulation on most loft hatches is typically poor.

Door and window draught proofing

Draught-proofing of doors and windows is one of the most of obvious ways to reduce a home's energy demand. The beauty of a thermal imaging camera is it allow you to quickly identify exactly where the draughts are worst and highlights to owners something they probably already know but had the time or motivation to fix.

Transition Bath runs regular draught-busting workshops which teach home owners the best way to install draught-proofing on doors and windows and in particular sash windows. We can also supply a variety of draught-proofing materials.

Gaps in floor boards

The  modern fashion for exposed floorboards has lead to older homes becoming less thermally efficient. It is common to see cold rising through gaps between floorboards which is troubling if it is a suspended ground floor.

Our general advice is to install draught-proofing - we can supply two types of recommended draught-proofing which is easy to install and is generally invisible to the naked eye. Installation is relatively quick and cheap. A longer term and better solution would be to install insulation under the floorboards, put this if often difficult without lifting the floorboards and can be very disruptive.

LED lighting

Although not technically something we pick up by using the thermal imaging camera, we are using the opportunity while visiting homes for thermal imaging surveys to praise the benefits of replacing halogen with LED lighting.

 

 


Some recent posts from the thermal imaging project:

Fuel Poverty

UK – the Cold Man of Europe – highest level of fuel poverty of 16 European Nations

A recent report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (AECB) calculates that the UK has the highest level of fuel poverty in Europe and the fabric of its […]

Making Bath Abbey more sustainable

Local engineering consultancy Buro Happold have been working with Bath Abbey to try to make the Abbey more sustainable. The most important aspect of the project is to use hot […]

DraughtUnderSkirtingBoardPlusCamera

Transition Bath is looking for a home to host its Thermal Imaging Training Course in November

For the last 3 years we have been running training courses to teach locals how to use a thermal imaging camera. To run these sources we need a home owners […]

Batheaston  School Thermal Imaging 4

Does my home leak heat?

Transition Bath’s energy group would like to congratulate one of our volunteers,  Sarah Warren on becoming a CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology) student, studying for an MSc in Sustainability and Adaptation . […]

Help the Energy Group decide which projects to run for the next year

On April 14th we will be holding our annual project planning meeting to decide which projects we are going to be running in the coming year. This will involve both […]

FFMF 10 Blue LEDs After

Transition Bath has been helping improve yields at the Mushroom Farm under Green Park Station

Transition Bath’s treasurer Hugh Prentice has been running a sustainable mushroom farm in the vaults under the old railway station at Green Park  in Bath since March 2014. He has […]

MediumDensityBlockPadstonesMoreConductiveThanAerocrete

Is your tradesperson suitably qualified?

Transition Bath has a long held ambition that tradespersons in Bath hold additional accreditations in how energy efficiency measures can be applied to our historic buildings. So for example a […]

July 2014 Newsletter

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Bathford Energy Group Thermal Imaging Project 2013/2014

  Bathford Energy Group (BEG) has recently completed their write-up of their first year of thermal imaging. Their project was run in conjunction with Transition Bath. During the course of […]

Energy Efficient Widcombe’s Thermal Imaging Project 2014

Energy Efficient Widcombe were involved in the Transition Bath Thermal Imaging project in 2014 and surveyed 15 homes. They have written up an extensive report of their experiences, which is available […]

Bill Buliding of Bath Collection May 2014 (2)

Transition Bath Thermal Imaging Survey and Draughtproofing at Building of Bath Collection

  Transition Bath have been working with Bath Preservation Trust to reduce their heating bills at the Building of Bath Collection. In February Bill, Jan and Jon carried out a […]

Thermal Imaging: Heat from Radiator seens from outside of Gerogian house

Thermal Image of a Radiator from outside a building

This radiator is visible from outside of Georgian home in Bath before a radiator reflector was installed. This issue is seen on many older homes in Bath which have solid […]

Thermal Imaging: Draughty door

Draughts around outside doors

Draughts around outside doors is a common problem in many, particularly older properties Example 1 In this property there are draughts around the bottom and sides of the door, and even […]

Thermal Imaging: Heat from Radiator seens from outside of Gerogian house

Technical Analysis of Radflek’s Radiator Reflectors

Summary It is estimated that by installing £3 of radiator reflector on a radiator on a solid walled house that perhaps £4 in gas can be saved each year. So […]

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If you want to find out more, why not sign up for our newsletter, contact us or come to our next event? If you are interested in having your home surveyed by the thermal imaging camera or would like to be involved in the project and receive training please click the 'Contact Us' link below: