With more than 300,000 buildings across the United States, the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to rapidly locate and identify sources of energy leaks to help reduce facility energy consumption. A new technology developed by Essess and demonstrated by ESTCP has the potential to do just that, at a fraction of the time of traditional handheld building infrared (IR) thermography.

Using the Kinetic Super-Resolution Long-Wave Infrared (KSR LWIR) Thermography technology, the U.S. Army ERDC-CERL in partnership with Essess collected thermal data from more than 250 buildings at two demonstration sites: Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Scott AFB, Illinois.  At Scott AFB, Essess demonstrated the innovative vehicle-mounted thermographic technology by imaging 278 buildings in just under four hours. By comparison, six of those same buildings required 2.5 hours to image using handheld devices. At that rate it would take almost three weeks to assess 278 buildings.

The KSR LWIR system uses IR Cameras, Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology, and GPS sensors mounted on a Toyota RAV4 to rapidly collect building envelope data from a large number of buildings. Essess, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup, custom manufactures the image capture systems, as well as the back-end analytical engine. Using the images and point cloud data captured by a drive-by of the building, Essess is able to pinpoint areas of high energy leakage and provide cost and performance data to address the deficiency. This is done without an energy auditor ever having to set foot on the property.

The CERL/Essess project team is demonstrating a rapid and cost-effective means of identifying numerous energy conservation measures to seal building envelopes. Otherwise, Facilities Managers remain unaware of the magnitude of envelope leaks because of the lack of a tool to efficiently collect and analyze building performance data. 

Final results of this Energy Test Bed demonstration should be available on the ESTCP web site in the first quarter of 2015.