The NRC's Aerospace Research Centre and its partners find a method for reducing building energy overconsumption

- Ottawa, Ontario

Infrared imaging of heat loss from a buried heating pipe in a parking lot

Large infrastructure and building campuses often require an efficient district heating system to keep them functioning smoothly during the winter months. However, even the best systems can have their inefficiencies, causing heat to escape, thereby causing energy waste and the release of excess carbon dioxide into the environment by the burning of extra fuel.

To help determine the extent of the problem, the National Research Council of Canada's (NRC) Aerospace Research Centre's Earth Observation and Microgravity group has partnered with McGill University's Applied Remote Sensing Lab to help reduce energy overconsumption in the Department of National Defence's (DND) bases.

The Quantification of Heat Loss project combines our remote sensing capabilities in thermal imaging with McGill University's expertise in drone-based remote sensing to come up with a system for determining how much carbon dioxide is being released into the environment as a result of heat loss from the district heating systems. The project measures energy loss within a campus-wide, in-ground heating system from one of the many DND bases across Canada, compares the ratio of energy in to energy (as heat) out; and then converts this number to the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that arise from the lost heat in the process. This number is necessary for guiding initiatives to reduce the amount of energy wasted within large heating infrastructure.

DND is using the results of this work to validate quantitative assessments of infrastructure renewal under the Greening Government Strategy. This ongoing project provides the measurable impact to climate change of inefficient district heating, and helps build the groundwork for real solutions for reducing the Government of Canada's carbon footprint.

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