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As costs for energy and building materials skyrocket, managers are placing greater emphasis on keeping buildings as energy efficient as possible. Infrared cameras can play a significant role in identifying inefficiency in building and wall components, including windows and roofs. The most common causes of energy loss through the building envelope are airflow, wet or missing insulation, and thermal bridging.
Technicians can use infrared technology to identify areas of energy loss due to airflow around windows, entryways, joints in wall components, and projections through walls, such as pipes and vents. The units also can identify the thermal bridging and missing insulation by locating increased variations in heat and energy loss.
Besides detecting energy loss by airflow, infrared technology also can identify moisture in roof and wall components. Water within the envelope can lead to heating and cooling inefficiencies, leaks, and possible structural degradation. With the proper training and knowledge of building components, technicians using infrared cameras can identify these problems quickly. This capability allows them to perform spot repairs and possibly avoid the need for large capital budget replacements created by severe degradation.
As infrared technology advances and managers seek even more ways to take advantage of its power, the possible applications for the technology continue to grow.
Many companies working with catastrophe restoration use infrared technology. In the wake of problems created by water or other damaging materials, technicians can use the technology to determine the full and sometimes hidden scope of the damage.
After technicians enter parameters, an infrared camera calculates dew point and sends a visual and verbal alarm when it identifies material at risk for condensation in a building. This application helps technicians provide accurate assessments of materials and identify tools needed to perform repairs.
Infrared technology continues adding to its increasing portfolio of applications while coming down in cost. In light of the nation’s economic problems and the effect on organizations’ bottom lines, managers need all the tools they can get in helping organizations control costs. Infrared technology can help achieve these goals by improving the condition and energy efficiency of facilities.
Matthew S. Overley, CDT, RRO, is an associate project manager with StructureTec Corp. — www.structuretec.com — a consulting firm specializing in the restoration of building envelopes and roofs and providing solutions for the entire envelope.
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