What is Infrared Technology?
Infrared radiation is heat invisible to the naked eye. Infrared cameras sense radiation and then display a visual of thermal patterns. Meaning, in short, trained professionals can use these images to identify heat loss and heat gain. Infrared imaging is typically done during colder months so that heat is more visible in the imaging. It can be done in warmer months, as long as the minimum T delta is present and the image scales will be inverted.
Infrared radiation is made up of electromagnetic waves of a particular wavelength just beyond what we can see on the red side of the spectrum. They were first discovered by William Herschel around 1800.
Why Use Infrared Technology?
Infrared technology is the best solution for non-invasive testing in the field. All buildings, new and old can use infrared technology to look for opportunities in advanced efficiency. The information gathered from thermal imaging helps lead improvement efforts to make spaces more comfortable and more efficient in energy use and related costs.
Infrared Technology in Preservation
Historical buildings are often landmarks of the communities they call home. Old homes, businesses, and repurposed buildings all come with unique challenges when it comes to efficiently heating, cooling, and maintaining. Due to the fragile nature of older buildings, it can be difficult to identify where the building is inefficient. To preserve the building, and maintain without damaging the structure, techniques for identifying problem places are employed to ensure the integrity of the building.
Infrared thermal imaging on building envelope components provides particularly valuable information. Thermal imaging often focuses on moisture and mold preventions in tandem with identifying changes in the structure of the building. Over time, historical building may change, shift, or settle, leaving spaces in the building structure that leads to inefficiencies, so infrared imaging is often the best approach for fragile buildings.
Case Example: Withrow High School
Withrow High School was built in 1919 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Building Envelope Allies surveyed the school building to identify heat/air loss using infrared technology. After a thorough evaluation of the building, the Building Envelope Allies team compiled results on the state of the building and opportunities for increasing efficiency. Read a part of the findings below:
“The results show an average positive pressure of 6.0 Pascal to the outside on the first floor north facing elevations (windward side). The south facing elevations (leeward side) tested an average negative pressure of 3.75 Pascal. While all of the building should operate at a positive pressure to the outside, these negative readings on the leeward side at the time of this inspection are not surprising given the age and type of building construction. However, if after restoration and installation of new HVAC equipment along with new windows and doors, the readings were to remain at these levels that would be reason for concern given the type of wall construction being examined.”
For more information on the details of this evaluation, read on our website here. If your building needs non-invasive restoration. Please contact the professionals at Building Envelope Allies.