16 Feb, 2024

Space and water heating account for around 80% of a domestic property’s energy usage. With the UK having some of the oldest and least efficient homes in Europe, a thermographic survey can be used to improve the thermal comfort and energy efficiency of the building.

Within commercial buildings, the principals of heat loss and energy efficiency are the same, and also extend to other uses such as the maintenance of electrical and mechanical systems to reduce potential downtime.

What is a Thermographic Survey?

Thermographic Surveys, Infrared Thermography, Thermal Imaging are all names for Thermographic Imaging.

All objects emit radiation which is not visible to the naked eye. Using a thermographic camera, we can see this radiation which can indicate heat loss and potential inefficiencies within the building. Thermographic surveys are non-obtrusive and can be used to identify underfloor heating, water leakage, and other potential anomalies.

As well has the above applications, thermographic survey forms part of BREEAM credit MAN 04 and are used in conjunction with the air permeability test to identify the building thermal performance.

Thermographic surveys are a completed using a handheld camera, allowing the thermographer to see any anomalies quickly and accurately.

The benefits of thermographic surveys include:

·       Non-invasive and cost-effective solutions

·       Maintains energy and environmental requirements

·       Identifies structural flaws

·       Identifies material weaknesses

·       Identifies installation errors

When Should a Thermographic Survey Be Used?

For a thermal survey to take place, we need a temperature difference of 10°C for at least 24 hours or 72 hours in buildings made with a high thermal mass such as concrete.

Occasionally there is a requirement for temporary heating to supplement the existing heating system, or where it has not been installed at the time of survey. Furthermore, thermographic surveys are undertaken at night or in the early hours of the morning to avoid solar gain potentially skewing the results.

Thermographic surveys are typically undertaken between September and May, however, there are instances when they can be undertaken outside of this period. Setting the building up correctly is critical to the effectiveness of the thermographic survey. It should be noted that only “treated areas” i.e. those areas which have space heating should be surveyed. 

How Much Does a Thermographic Inspection Cost?

The cost of a thermographic inspection is dependant on a number of variables, including:

·       Size of the development

·       Location within the country

·       Type of survey required

We are happy to provide a free telephone consultation to discuss this further.

How Does a Thermographic Survey Improve Energy Efficiency?

Thermographic surveys can be employed for a broad range of uses. Within new buildings, they can be used to check for thermal bridging, continuity of insulation, insulation quality, areas of air leakage, and potential condensation issues.

Whilst the application of thermographic surveys is similar in existing buildings, they can be used to concentrate and identify areas for retrofit. As thermographic surveys are non-intrusive, the impact on existing and future occupiers can be kept minimal.

All of these applications can be used to be improve the energy efficiency and the thermal comfort for those inside the building.

What Are BREEAM Standards?

BREEAM is an internationally recognised sustainability scheme with thermographic surveys forming part of this.

BREEAM credit Man 04 uses a thermographic survey in conjunction with an air permeability test to identify areas of thermal bridging, air leakage paths, and continuity of insulation. If any areas are identified and the credit can not be awarded, then defects should be remedied according to the original design specification.   

Thermographic Surveys by Stroma Built Environment

Our experience of thermographic surveys sets Stroma Built Environment out as expert market leaders, and we are here and ready to talk to you about your next project.