The Suffolk Climate Change Partnership, which is made up of all the Local Authorities in Suffolk, have purchased several thermal imaging cameras which they are loaning out to community groups to carry out surveys in their areas for free.
Earl Stonham Parish Council has booked a camera for 13th February to 4th March Inclusive.
Our aim in running the project is to raise awareness about insulation, and if possible, help you to improve the energy efficiency of your house. This could mean a reduction in fuel bills, better health and also reducing the total amount of carbon dioxide that we emit into the atmosphere which is important for stopping climate change.
Thermal imaging works by detecting the infra-red radiation emitted by a building and using it to determine the temperature of the surface of walls, windows, doors, roof etc. Objects at different temperatures emit varying amounts of infra-red and the infra-red camera translates these differences into an image with different colours representing cool (blue/purple) to hot (white/red) temperatures.
Infra-red radiation cannot pass through glass and so the camera cannot see through your windows, doors or walls. This means that a thermal imaging survey will not invade your privacy, and what we are seeing in the images is only the outside surface of the house. Glass actually reflects infra-red radiation, so any shapes you may see in pictures of the windows will be due to reflections from outside.
A thermal image of the outside surface of your house is useful because it can show areas which maybe conducting heat from the inside to the outside of the house. Ideally insulation, either in a cavity inside the walls or in a layer in the loft, should minimise the heat loss through the walls or loft. However, if there are gaps in the insulation, or places where it has been bridged by a conducting structure, then we will see a hotter pattern on the outside surface. Similarly for windows and doors, we can see in the image if there is a poor seal around them that is letting warm air escape, or if they are poorly insulated (e.g. single glazed windows).
What can you learn from a thermal imaging survey?
If your house is relatively new, already has insulated cavity walls and double glazing and feels warm – you might not learn much, except to get an even warmer glow after confirming your house is well insulated!
If your house is older and seems difficult to keep warm - you might learn exactly where the heat is escaping and get some ideas about where to insulate.
A thermal imaging survey might