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Building Thermography Inspection by using a Low-Cost Visual-Thermal Drone System
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center. (framtidens energi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3971-0638
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Future Energy Center. (Framtidens energi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5341-3656
2021 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For decades, thermal imaging technology serves as an effective tool and is implemented in many industrial and commercial applications, including energy and building sectors. Recent trends in the field further show an increased interest in aerial thermal imaging applications that brings new opportunities toward sustainability. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) (i.e., drones) equipped with thermal cameras are currently used for building thermography inspection, which is a crucial technology to accelerate the identification of CO2 mitigation within the building sector to tackle the global goals (SDG 11 target 11.6 and SDG 7 target 7.3). This study presents an evaluation of a low-cost, visual-thermal drone system for building thermography inspection (SDG 9 target 5.5). The evaluation was limited to the thermal imaging potentials of the system. The UAV system is used to examine its capacity to detect various heat loss, including insulation defects, air/ water leakage, and validation of different suspected energy loss case studies. The examination also involves the evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of the thermal-drone system. The thermography inspection was carried out on several buildings with different sizes, types, and activities they are used for. Therefore, the detection/identification tasks for the thermal-drone system were different from an inspection to another. This study aimed to identify different limitations and advantages of using such a low-cost thermal-drone system for building thermography inspection. The technical evaluation was based on several criteria, including fly duration, stability, image quality, data flexibility, integration potentials, etc. Additionally, the cost-effectiveness and other practical aspects were considered in the evaluation. The results show a combination of both limitations and advantages of adopting such a low-cost drone system. In contrast to the supplier's description, the thermal image data are not a radiometric JPG file that significantly limits quality and opportunities. Accordingly, the thermal image gives a standard JPG file and does not provide a temperature distribution to make any post-analysis processing or post-editing presentations. This issue can be solved partially, as the live thermal images provide a temperature distribution that allows different utilizations, e.g., identifying temperature spots, which can be included in a screenshot of the drone screen controller. Furthermore, the image data's limitations do not allow 3D modelling of the building objects which is possible for the radiometric image files. The image resolution and accuracy are limited; however, short distance inspections provide good image qualities. The results reveal that the thermal drone system can detect common insulation issues such as missing insulation and clear energy loss. However, the capacity is limited in regards to high accuracy demand and more in-depth data analysis. In conclusion, the examined drone system is a cost-effective tool for DIY use and superficial aerial building thermography inspection (SDG 11 target 11.6). Therefore the suggested system is not sufficient for higher demand and more professional inspections. The suggested proposal is an effective method to identify CO2 mitigation potentials within the buildings that are significantly promoting the achievement of some SDGs. Additionally, the inspection method can be conducted remotely, keeping social distancing in the time of pandemics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund, 2021. p. 350-351, article id 405
Keywords [en]
Building Thermography, Visual-Thermal Drone, Low-Cost Drone, Thermal imaging, Sustainability
National Category
Engineering and Technology Building Technologies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-58088OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-58088DiVA, id: diva2:1653720
Conference
27th Annual Conference, International Sustainable Development Research Society
Available from: 2022-04-24 Created: 2022-04-24 Last updated: 2022-04-29Bibliographically approved

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fulltext(6962 kB)147 downloads
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https://2021.isdrsconferences.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Book-of-Abstracts.pdf

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Hawas, AllanSkvaril, Jan

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