Green Office Space: Use thermal imaging to identify heat loss

I’ve worked hard to green the office space at thinkspace. Most of my effort has been on the interior of the building. I’m now taking my first step to identify ways to make my green office footprint smaller by improving the energy efficiency of the exterior.

Post people take steps to make sure they have weather stripping in the their homes because they want to have lower heating bills. For a commercial office building it’s even more important to have a tight building envelope.  With a huge number of windows and doors there could be many leak points. I’ve decided that in order to do it right, I’m going to use thermal imaging photography to find all of the cracks and gaps.

I met a person, Michael Johnson, at our Redmond Chamber Sustainability Committee meeting. Michael took this photo of our office building the other day. The area that is whiter around the windows is the area that represents heat loss. So based on this photo, it looks like the window sills are leaking heat. There are few low cost suggestions that Michael is going to make about how we can mitigate these leaks. Michael quickly has learned that I’m a guy that likes to implement green, but, I’m not one that wants to pay a premium for green. So his low cost suggestions really resonate with me!

Our next steps are to implement some of these solutions and then take more photos of before and after to show what a difference these simple solutions can make. I’m looking forward to having more energy efficient office space! I suspect that we’ll have less drafts and it’ll be more comfortable for the people that work inside thinkspace.

I find it interesting that the tree in the background is still green even if you take a thermal imagine photo! I’ll be posting more results about our thermal energy audit as I get more photos!

14 replies
  1. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan says:

    Peter – This is great… do you have any images of what a typical office building might look like? It would be interesting to compare.

    Our local energy company provides audits, but they don’t have any technology such as this. However, what we learned was that the main way our home was losing heat was through our ductwork, especially right at the HVAC unit.

    Reply
  2. Mike Sullivan
    Mike Sullivan says:

    Peter – This is great… do you have any images of what a typical office building might look like? It would be interesting to compare.

    Our local energy company provides audits, but they don’t have any technology such as this. However, what we learned was that the main way our home was losing heat was through our ductwork, especially right at the HVAC unit.

    Reply
  3. Peter Chee
    Peter Chee says:

    Mike,

    When Michael gets back out here I’ll have him take more photos. We’ll definitely do a before and after photo. In this photo, the brick on the outside of this building is warmed up from the heat of the sun. I think it would be best to get a photo on a cold over cast day so you can really see a bigger contrast in color.

    Peter

    Reply
  4. Peter Chee
    Peter Chee says:

    Mike,

    When Michael gets back out here I’ll have him take more photos. We’ll definitely do a before and after photo. In this photo, the brick on the outside of this building is warmed up from the heat of the sun. I think it would be best to get a photo on a cold over cast day so you can really see a bigger contrast in color.

    Peter

    Reply
  5. Anna
    Anna says:

    That is so cool. It’d be neat to get a thermal shot after you implement your “low cost method.” (I’m picturing towels under the door- which is what I’m doing now!)

    Reply
  6. Anna
    Anna says:

    That is so cool. It’d be neat to get a thermal shot after you implement your “low cost method.” (I’m picturing towels under the door- which is what I’m doing now!)

    Reply
  7. Peter Chee
    Peter Chee says:

    I think we’ll be doing something a little different than towels under doors and extra thick plastic over the windows. ;)

    He’s got some interesting tips like cork strips on top of the window frames. I can’t wait to try this out. We’re going to try and implement some of these kinds of things next week!

    Reply
  8. Peter Chee
    Peter Chee says:

    I think we’ll be doing something a little different than towels under doors and extra thick plastic over the windows. ;)

    He’s got some interesting tips like cork strips on top of the window frames. I can’t wait to try this out. We’re going to try and implement some of these kinds of things next week!

    Reply
  9. Brando
    Brando says:

    This is a really cool post! I am excited to see some “after” shots as well after you implement the changes. I definitely think there are a few places in our office where the heat is escaping. I think it would be beneficial to any office that is looking to cut back on energy costs to take a photo like this and compare both images after changes have been made. Thanks for the interesting post, and looking forward to future posts.

    Reply
  10. Brando
    Brando says:

    This is a really cool post! I am excited to see some “after” shots as well after you implement the changes. I definitely think there are a few places in our office where the heat is escaping. I think it would be beneficial to any office that is looking to cut back on energy costs to take a photo like this and compare both images after changes have been made. Thanks for the interesting post, and looking forward to future posts.

    Reply
  11. Jurga Galvan
    Jurga Galvan says:

    Any news with regards to cutting heat loss on this building, Peter? It’s been over half a year since you posted, and it would be great to find out what happened next and which method worked best. Any ‘AFTER’ shots? Thanks.

    Reply
  12. Jurga Galvan
    Jurga Galvan says:

    Any news with regards to cutting heat loss on this building, Peter? It’s been over half a year since you posted, and it would be great to find out what happened next and which method worked best. Any ‘AFTER’ shots? Thanks.

    Reply
  13. solar thermal training
    solar thermal training says:

    Thermographic cameras are really so cool, just come to think of this gadget which is especially made to detect radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms.

    Reply
  14. solar thermal training
    solar thermal training says:

    Thermographic cameras are really so cool, just come to think of this gadget which is especially made to detect radiation in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum and produce images of that radiation, called thermograms.

    Reply

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