SWBR Offers New Service: Thermal Imaging Analysis

Friday, July 19, 2013

We are proud to announce that SWBR is now applying Thermal Imaging Analysis, allowing us to analyze construction conditions and identify information that can help improve performance and determine the need for critical maintenance. Infrared technology used in a thermal camera captures temperature variations on a surface and can be successfully used to evaluate problems related with the presence of moisture in roof systems. The data gained from this technology will allow us to publish comprehensive thermal reports for our clients and provide recommendations that can improve comfort and reduce energy costs.

We have added this new service recognizing that it is important to design better buildings that are healthier, more comfortable, save energy and save money. SWBR takes pride in our long history of quality design, seeking to meet these principles and that is why we're embracing this technology and working to "close the loop" on building design and performance.

Understanding responsible design, high performance criteria and material assemblies enables us to recommend solutions to building envelope concerns such as roof, wall and window problems, insulation and moisture problems, or other deficiencies. With this information in hand, it is easy to uncover savings opportunities with an improved return on investment because it allows owners to target where capital improvements are best made.


These images are examples of how the thermal camera can be used to show temperature variations on the surface of a roof and exterior of a building.

As an example, Thermal Analysis can be applied in the following areas:

Roof Images
Thermal Analysis offers the ability to determine if roof insulation has become wet depending on various exterior weather conditions. In order to capture, interpret, and resolve roof performance issues, the Thermal Imaging Analysis is a non-evasive method proven to scan broad areas quickly. Some of the areas of investigation when assessing roof areas are as follow:
• Thermal bridging caused by wet insulation
• Performance of individual duct and pipe penetration elements
• Building assembly connections at expansion joints and flashings
• Sloped insulation applications
• Penthouse structures that may be suspect due to neglect

Interior Images
Comparing the internal images of the same building envelopes allows an enhanced ability to determine where thermal bridging is occurring and the performance of systems in the floor or walls. Some of the areas of investigation are as follows:
• Framing construction inboard of the exterior insulation
• Exterior door threshold and framing conditions
• Ceiling insulation performance
• Sagging insulation between framing members
• Gradient wall insulation performance
• Pipe, duct and insulation performance
• Floor radiant heating loop performance

Exterior Images
Some of the areas of investigation when assessing building envelopes are as follow:
• Thermal bridging of vintage wall assemblies
• Performance of individual window and door elements
• Building assembly connections of wall/roof; wall/slab and wall/wall connections
• Infill construction around door, window, exhaust, intake and pipe penetrations in exterior walls
• Roof insulation failure where water conveys heat through insulation, flashing and penetration locations

Thermal Analysis allows us to verify that new building construction meets design performance requirements, or analyze existing buildings for opportunities to improve energy performance and evaluate the quality of various other building components. Now more than ever, quality building design and improved building performance is critical whether you have a new or existing facility. Thermal Analysis can aid in creating a comfortable environment while reducing overall maintenance costs.

If you are considering a renovation or new building project, and would like more information on a Thermal Imaging Analysis, please contact Phil Wise, AIA, LEED AP (pwise@swbr.com) or Mark Maddalina, AIA, LEED AP (mmaddalina@swbr.com).