Bluesky to Develop Heat Loss Map of Britain’s Cities

British towns and cities to be included in heat loss map aimed at tackling carbon emissions and energy wastage.

london at night

Bluesky, an aerial mapping company, has secured contracts allowing it to map heat loss across 10% of the UK’s urban population. Bluesky will accurately record heat loss from homes and business addresses using specialist thermal sensors mounted on survey aircraft. The aim of the project is to tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions and to improve energy efficiency, and will work with the collaboration of local authorities, property owners, and energy companies to produce the colour-coded maps. Bluesky thermal maps are also used to detect illegal dwellings or cannabis factories.

Managing director of Bluesky International, Rachel Tidmarsh, commented: ”At a time when energy usage and fuel poverty are once again top of the political agenda and front page news, it is essential that those who are charged with protecting the most vulnerable in society are armed with the information they need. Thermal survey data clearly shows households that differ from adjacent properties. Most often these are shown as ‘hot spots’ and can be explained by poor insulation however unduly ‘cold’ properties are also of concern as these households may be experiencing fuel poverty where they simply cannot afford to switch on the heating. Combining the thermal data with demographic and other datasets can highlight properties where this may be the case.”

The company has already accounted for around 4 million of the population, covering about 1,250km 2 over the last year in its aim to create the heat loss map. Completed projects have been undertaken on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Slough Borough Council, Bury, Stafford, Derby, and Coventry, and further data is to be collected from central London, the south of England, and Scotland.

Tidmarsh continued, saying that: “Through investment in technology we are also able to offer our clients highly detailed 3D maps (LiDAR) at a fraction of the usual price. We have the only fully integrated aerial survey system in operation in the UK  – if not the world; which means we can simultaneously capture LiDAR data during the thermal survey potentially saving thousands of pounds in data capture costs. This data is being used by local authorities to identify extensions and out buildings that have been constructed without planning permission.”

Thermal surveys are carried out during the winter months in the early evening and after susnset so as to capture the greatest variations in temperature that can be seen as a result of poor insulation or excessive energy usage. The data can be used in a Geographical Information System (GIS) or Bluesky is able to produce ready-to-deliver marketing documents highlighting high heat loss for certain properties.

The surveys are done using a ‘microbolometer’ thermal camera designed specifically for aerial surveying and perfect for use in aircraft at night.The camera allows measurements of heat loss from roofs to be recorded with more precision and consistency than other systems in use in the UK.

Image by Chris Hadfield

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