Thermal imaging training

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Buckinghamshire Community Energy Champions received training from the National Energy Foundation, an independent charity working to improve the use of energy in buildings, to help them deliver thermal imaging initiatives in their local community. The group wanted to use thermal imaging as a tool to engage more people in energy issues – by converting infrared radiation (heat loss from a property) into a visible colour palette, they could show householders where heat, and therefore their money is leaking away from their home.

The training sessions involved three key aspects:

1. Options for running the project: pros and cons of undertaking pre-booked surveys and engaging the householder there and then, vs. undertaking surveys and inviting householders to a public feedback session at the end of the project.

2. How to use the camera: important parameters to consider and atmospheric conditions required to take the perfect image.

3. Interpretation of resulting images and running public feedback events: this was a key section, as many Champions and community groups didn’t feel confident in advising the public. With input from Champions and the National Energy Foundation, a briefing sheet was produced to help guide people through the available help, including available financial assistance for energy-efficiency improvements.

The public feedback sessions proved highly effective for a number of reasons:

• A ‘buzz’ was created in the room, with residents talking to each other about their results.

• Running a feedback event created the opportunity for local installers, councils and advice organisations to have information stands around the room.

• Advertisement of the event resulted in additional requests for surveys, and some households signed up for a future survey so that they could see if planned improvements from their recommendations did result in improvements.