Drive-by system detects energy loss in buildings

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT;Cambridge, MA, USA) and Essess/Eye-R Systems (Boston, MA, USA) have developed a new imaging system to determine the energy losses in buildings.

Drive-by system detects energy loss in buildings
Drive-by system detects energy loss in buildings

Engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT;Cambridge, MA, USA) and Essess/Eye-R Systems (Boston, MA, USA) have developed a new imaging system to determine the energy losses in buildings.

Created with the support of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), the long-wave infrared (IR) imaging system is mounted on a van equipped with a controlling laptop computer, real-time viewing screens, data storage and a real-time GPS.

Because warm objects emit long-wave IR radiation, IR thermography can help detect problems invisible to the naked eye. Examples are missing, damaged or improperly installed insulation within walls and roofs, thermal bridges and poor seals.

While conventional handheld thermography provides a detailed assessment of building envelope energy losses, it is a slow, meticulous process. The new system, on the other hand, is claimed to enable high throughput assessment of the energy loss from many buildings based on scans taken in just a few hours via drive-bys along the street where the buildings are located.

In tests of the system, the IR images were combined with other imaging and structural data so that each detected energy leak could be automatically assigned a predicted energy cost, a parts and- labor repair cost and recovered energy savings. The resulting data can then be presented on a Google Street View map of the installation that color-codes each building according to the amount of the calculated energy loss.

During this year, engineers at the ERDC will conduct further demonstrations of the system under the Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program at sites that will include the US Military Academy at West Point in New York, the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

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-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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