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  • Publication DateJan 2016
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The use of low cost infrared cameras for checking thermal insulation

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The use of low cost infrared cameras for checking thermal insulation

Back to 2016 Symposium Overview

Session 2 Paper 3, Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh, 14-15 April 2016

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Thermal imaging has been used for checking continuity of thermal insulation in buildings and building services and for electrical and mechanical plant surveys for almost 50 years. But until recently price, weight and complexity have been barriers to widespread application. All these barriers have now been broken down with the introduction of Smartphone infrared cameras in 2014. Does this mean that engineers and surveyors will now be using infrared all the time? BSRIA has investigated the new cameras looking at technical performance, usability and suitability for common applications. This work has been partly funded by an EU Research Project.

The price, weight and complexity of infrared cameras have been falling since their introduction to the building industry in 1968. When BSRIA started using infrared cameras in 1990 the simplest radiometric infrared camera, (one that could quantify radiant heat transfer and thereby temperature) cost £30,000 and weighed 30kg. Even in early 2014 the most basic radiometric infrared cameras cost £800 and weighed 600g.

In 2014 an infrared camera adaptor for a Smartphone weighing 110 g was launched for under 200 Pounds. The latest generation of adaptors weigh as little as 32g