Quantitative thermography for the estimation of the U-value: State of the art and a case study

Iole Nardi, Stefano Sfarra, Dario Ambrosini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Energy consumption of buildings could be significantly reduced by improving the efficiency of the envelope. Currently, the estimation of the energy performance of existing buildings requires the knowledge of the overall heat transfer coefficient (U-value) of the walls. U-values can be calculated through a theoretical approach, knowing the thermal conductivity and thickness of each material that constitutes the wall stratigraphy, from project data or coring. Alternatively, U-values can be obtained experimentally, through the ISO recommended heat flow meter measurements. Although generally accepted, the heat flow meter method suffers from some disadvantages. Recently, an alternative approach based on infrared thermography (IRT) has been proposed for in situ measurements. Main advantages of this new approach are non invasivity and the possibility of inspecting relatively large areas in real time. In this paper, after a brief description of the state of the art in the field of U-value measurement by IRT, a case study is described. In particular, the results obtained by IRT on an existing building are compared with U-values given by the standard ISO calculation and heat flow meter measurements; advantages and limitations of the new method are outlined. Some suggestions for a successful exploiting of the IRT approach are also given.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012016
JournalJournal of Physics: Conference Series
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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