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Thermographic analysis of buildings


The use of infrared thermography as a well-proven technique for the inspection of buildings and the location of pathologies such as air leaks, dampness, etc. It allows us to carry out an “in-situ” visual examination of the quality of the objects under study thanks to the possibility of visualising the results in real time and being able to detect defects or characteristic elements without difficulty. These qualitative measurement techniques provide us with the possibility of carrying out quick and efficient inspections without direct contact with the object and in a non-destructive manner, which reduces both the risk of incidents for operators and the damage caused to the objects under study by other intrusive techniques. In addition, the usefulness of infrared thermography as a purely measurement technique has also been demonstrated through its use for the calculation of thermophysical properties of materials such as diffusivity and thermal transmittance.

In the case of qualitative thermography, existing publications deal with in-situ studies, mainly on historical buildings or cultural heritage elements, while qualitative studies are mostly carried out in laboratories on limited sample sizes. In those cases where quantitative thermographic studies have been carried out on buildings in-situ, temperature values are used in order to obtain real thermophysical properties (thermal conductance) of the building envelope, but their spatial distribution is not considered.

Combining both applications will allow the automation of the calculation of heat losses from the temperatures measured with a thermographic camera. In this way, not only is thermography used to represent the state of the wall, but also the temperature values contained in the thermography are used to extract the metric parameters of the building under study, so that the hybridisation of the thermographic information with the precision cartographic material would allow the extraction of the real geometry of the object of study with thermographic texture, thus allowing precise measurements of the elements of interest to be made directly on the result obtained.


Studies such as the one published by EuroACE in 2010 place the improvement of energy efficiency in buildings at the top of the list of actions needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs, as well as to boost job creation. This is particularly true for the existing building stock, most of which dates back to the 1940s-80s, with non-existent regulations and scarce resources. In these buildings, energy refurbishment can save up to 75% in energy consumption. In Spain there are 13 million dwellings susceptible to intervention, the energy refurbishment of which would mean a 34% reduction in emissions in the sector compared to 2001.