A drone to assess energy efficiency

Tuesday, 26 April, 2016

A drone to assess energy efficiency

A drone fitted with a thermal camera, designed to monitor buildings’ energy efficiency, is being developed by students at the University of Strathclyde.

The concept, designed by Americo Pino, Ken Brooksbank and Kai Pham, is intended to provide a comprehensive assessment of energy use. The students are currently exploring the diversity and viability of innovative drone technology to create environmental value across industries such as energy, agriculture and construction.

“Energy efficiency is important in buildings for environmental and economic reasons, but some equipment used to measure it is expensive and doesn’t always give a full reading,” said Pino. “Drones can make these types of inspections more comprehensive, and thermal imaging technology takes this a step further.

“Our drone lifts off automatically and can link to around 17 satellites at a time, so it’s very precise in the images it takes and very safe to fly.”

On a recent test flight, the drone surveyed four buildings on Strathclyde’s campus and a fifth building at the university’s playing fields. Each assessment took around 30 minutes to conduct and, as a safety precaution, the flight took place at 3 am, offering the team ideal light conditions. The students are currently analysing the data.

The students are using their project as a proof-of-concept exercise and currently working with Strathclyde’s Enterprise Hub in setting up a company called Drone Wrangler in order to commercialise the concept.

Image caption: Ken Brooksbank, Kai Pham and Americo Pino.

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