March 2024

Heat loss from buildings is a widespread problem across the UK, not only causing unnecessary carbon emissions but also higher energy bills for tenants, home owners and businesses alike. Often, property owners are not aware of the extent of heat loss from their property as Energy Performance Certificates are only required when selling or renting a property. Satellite thermal imaging provides a cost-effective means of assessing the heat loss from building roofs and can inform owners of their relative energy efficiency, raising awareness and empowering decisions.

A typical home in the UK loses up to one third of its heat produced by a central heating system through its walls, windows and roof, according to one UK council that has commissioned a study into this issue (Kensington & Chelsea). Quantifying the impact of this loss in terms of home temperature, Tado published the results of their study in 2020 which showed the UK as the worst in Europe for temperature loss after five hours of heating.

This poor state of UK building efficiency is in part due to the age of the housing stock, but it highlights the need – and opportunity – to rectify the issue. Simple measures such as adding draught excluders, through to those requiring more investment (e.g., insulation, window replacement) can have immediate effects, reducing cost, emissions and potential health issues from poor insulation (condensation, mould, cold).

Our proprietary technology takes 100m-resolution thermal imagery from satellites and creates a heatmap of all buildings from the resulting 15m-resolution temperature images we derive. Results are displayed relative to the ambient temperature or as a categorised scale (very poor to very good) relative to the mean property in the area.  


Examples over Stoke, UK showing degrees C above or below ambient temperature

Whilst it must be noted that the roof temperature will be influenced by material, and it is not known whether a building had heating on at the time the image was taken, the method is a powerful and cost-effective way of assessing likely building performance (residential & commercial) in terms of thermal efficiency and allows small buildings to wide areas anywhere in the UK or in other countries to be assessed. Coupled with other energy usage data over time, this data can also contribute towardsidentifying whether property insulation targets are being met.



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