Are you considering an energy audit? It turns out that somebody might be conducting a drive-by efficiency review of your home even as you read this. Don’t worry – no one will come to your home without your permission, or even knock on your door. Instead, a company is using cars with thermal imaging cameras to drive around neighborhoods and create heat-loss profiles o the houses. The result is a set of information that can help identify which homes are wasting energy, setting the table for potential follow-up for efficiency upgrades.
The heat imaging is being conducted by a company called Essess, an affiliate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We’ve made thermal imaging very automated on a very large scale,” Essess co-founder Sanjay Sarma said to MIT News. The company has already captured over 4 million homes in its imaging program.
Sarma and his team developed sensors that automatically capture the thermal profile for houses as they drive by. Once the image is downloaded, it can show if heat is escaping from the roof, doors, windows or elsewhere. The company matches its results with household demographic information to target families most likely to be amenable to energy-efficiency adjustments.
“It’s not just figuring out who the worst culprits are — who’s wasting the most energy — because there are customers that can be wasting energy, but they’ll never fix it,” Sarma said to MIT News. “There’s the actual energy waste and the psychological component to do something about it. Those are two distinct analyses we layer on top of one another.”
For example, the report points out, the company could find houses that the imaging software shows have heat escaping from the attics, and which are occupied by people statistically likely to want to address the problem. Essess would then supply the addresses to the local gas company as good prospects for an efficiency outreach campaign.
The company is also supplying data to commercial buildings, public facilities and the Department of Defense.
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You don’t need to wait for your utility company to contact you to learn if your HVAC system isn’t operating at peak efficiency. Contact an experienced heating and cooling technician to perform an evaluation on your heating system annually and perform routine maintenance. Not only will this keep your unit in good condition, but it may also help extend its lifespan. You can also have a professional auditor make an examination of your home and provide you with personalized results to find leaks and other problems and help you start saving money on your heating bills today.
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