4 March 2013 Forum Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) Thermal Imaging Secrets

Volunteers with the Bayside Climate Change Action Group have conducted energy assessments on over 100 homes, many with a thermal imaging camera.

Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) discussion group http://beyondzeroemissions.org/events/discussion-group revealed the many thermal secrets that our homes have been keeping from us – until now!  Vermin in the roof, 42 degree bedroom walls at 11 AM, electrical equipment gone mad, the deep dark inner workings of heat pumps.

Do you want to?

  • Make your home more comfortable?
  • Save on energy costs? (The cleanest and cheapest energy is the energy we do not use!)

If you do, and you are a Bayside Resident, then why not try our FREE Home Energy Evaluation using our Thermal Imaging Camera?

Bayside Climate Change Action Group is offering free visits by a trained volunteer camera operator to help identify thermal leakage problems in Bayside homes. This will highlight energy efficiency issues and potential savings on your energy bills which we all know are on the rise. The camera was obtained by a grant from Bayside City Council.


The TICA Program is only for Bayside Residents.

The Bayside Climate Change Action Group (BCCAG) has been fortunate to receive a grant from Bayside Council to purchase a thermal imaging camera. This camera is already being used in a project to help promote the need for, and benefits of, energy efficiency in homes in Bayside.

The camera produces images which can demonstrate the thermal characteristics and corresponding weaknesses in buildings both externally and internally. BCCAG has trained a number of volunteer camera operators in the use of the camera. It is planned to conduct the first phase of the project during 2012. We are asking for expressions of interest from local residents for a free home appraisal during that period. Participating residents will be given a home visit lasting about one hour, and later a basic report outlining issues identified by the camera images of their home.

The aim of the project is to raise public awareness about ways to minimise energy use by maximizing efficiency and performance within the home. This means reducing a household’s carbon footprint and energy bills at the same time. As energy prices have risen significantly in recent times and are expected to continue to do so, this has become an increasingly important consideration.

If you would like to express interest in participating in this project please contact us via:  ticaproject@hotmail.com. Please note that opportunities to participate are limited and will be offered on a first come first served basis.

On the left is a normal photograph of a back door of a laundry. Right is a thermal photograph taken with the TICA camera. You can clearly see where heat is escaping through the “dark blue” coloured glass windows and under the door.

Last year, the Bayside Climate Change Action Group bought a thermal imaging camera, courtesy of a grant from their council. Volunteers have begun using it to provide free thermal efficiency assessments for local residents.

”The images are quite eye-catching and funky,” says Cheryl May, from the group. ”It’s one thing to tell somebody there’s probably a draught under their door, and another thing to show them an image where you can actually see it. The colour demonstrates that there is colder air coming in.”

Some results were surprising. When one member took a snapshot of his ceiling, it revealed a strange bright spot. ”He couldn’t work out what it was,” Ms May says. ”It turned out to be a possum.”

Elsewhere, the results have been more instructive – one resident, who had just completed a renovation, requested her builder return to fix the gappy insulation that they discovered with the camera.

”You can really see where the problems are,” Ms May says. ”You can point it at the ceiling and see where the insulation is, and where it’s missing. You can see leaks coming from fridge seals. We’re trying to educate people about the way heat loss occurs.”

A thermal imaging camera works best when there’s a big temperature difference between inside and outside. For each snapshot, it produces both a thermal image and a normal one. During winter, draughts, gaps and glazing show up in purplish-blue, contrasted with an orange-yellow glow in places where the building is better insulated.

The Bayside Climate Change Action Group aims to visit 50 local households with the camera before the end of the year. If you live outside the area, you could rent one or hire a professional to conduct your own report.

One of the group’s volunteers, Danielle King, is an experienced sustainability assessor. She says many of the camera’s findings are straightforward – it just helps to communicate common problems, such as the ”Swiss cheese-effect” of halogen downlights (which must be clear of insulation, so as to reduce the risk of fire).

”If you get in bed and there are holes in your blanket, it doesn’t keep you warm. It’s exactly the same with ceiling insulation,” she says.

But the camera reveals secrets too; especially about how your insulation has been installed in hard-to-see places.

”The beauty of the camera is that it can see through the walls, literally,” she says.

”You also find a lot of construction gaps, where air leaks through skirting boards. You wouldn’t pick those up otherwise and those heat losses can sometimes be quite high.”

One house Ms King visited in Brighton had an average daily use of 40 kWh – well over double the state average.

”They had recently moved homes and their bills had gone up a huge amount in this new house,” she says. Her report detailed many possible remedies, but the first thing she recommended was that they thoroughly seal draughts.

With winter upon us, the same advice applies to every household. And you don’t need a thermal camera to find the gaps. Try holding an incense stick close to window frames, door frames and skirting boards, and watch how the smoke moves. You can use unspooled tape from old cassettes in the same way.


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