An innovative approach towards enhancing energy conservation in buildings via public engagement using DIY infrared thermography surveys

Hawas, A. and Al-Habaibeh, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-9867-6011, 2020. An innovative approach towards enhancing energy conservation in buildings via public engagement using DIY infrared thermography surveys. Energy and Built Environment.

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Energy consumption in urban environment in the EU accounts for about 40% of the total energy consumption, and the majority of this energy is utilised for heating and air conditioning of buildings. Hence the process of insulating and retrofitting of relatively old buildings is essential to enhance the thermal performance and hence contribute to energy and carbon emission reduction. There is a need to enhance people's engagement and education in relation to such issues to inspire and encourage positive actions and investment from the public. This paper presents an approach of combining a novel training process using a low-cost infrared thermal camera with small scale building model to promote DIY (Do-It-Yourself) infrared survey for the public to evaluate the performance of their own homes in order to identify any issues related to insulation or air leaks from the building envelop to encourage them to take corrective actions. The work included the engagement of 50 people to survey their own homes to capture the technical findings as well as their personal reaction and feedback. The results show that 88% of participants have found the educational session helpful to understand the infrared thermography; and 92% have considered the infrared camera to be an effective tool to indicate location of heat losses. Additionally, 90% of participants trust that the thermal camera has helped them to identify insulation defects that cause heat losses in their homes. Moreover, 84% believe that the thermal imaging has convinced them to think more seriously about the heat losses of their homes and what they could do to improve that. The experimental thermography surveys have shown that many houses have limitations in terms of thermal insulation which have been identified by the participants. This DIY interaction has provided enhanced public engagement and energy awareness via the use of the technology. The financial issues are also found to be critical, as none of the participants would have done the survey if they had to pay for it. Hence, this paper provides a solution for households with limited budgets.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Energy and Built Environment
Creators: Hawas, A. and Al-Habaibeh, A.
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Date: 14 October 2020
S2666123320301021Publisher Item Identifier
Rights: Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. or its licensors or contributors. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 01 Oct 2021 14:31
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2021 14:31

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