Infrared energy audit: 5 reasons to have it done

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Infrared technology is now being used by many major players in the built environment such as Housing Associations, Health Trusts, Local Authorities and Building Surveyors to reveal their assets inefficiencies and take meaningful decisions. You may have heard of it but you are not sure if it is for your building project.

Here are 5 reasons why it is time you considered using infrared technology to bring a visible and clear dimension to what you want to do.

1. Make tighter budgets go further

Your budgets seem too tight to achieve your targets. Nowadays companies seem to expect miracles achieved on a shoestring by the few.
If the objective is to save money, then the instant saving imperative is to fire the staff, right? This short term view will always appease shareholders, but the damage to the long term sustainability to the company is profound. This is true of all companies losing talented staff. Of course this is nothing new.
In the world of energy audits and portfolio management, it often means putting plans on hold for years. The teams who knew the buildings and understood the challenge move on, leaving management with assets that depreciate, tenants with rising energy bills they can’t afford to pay – resulting in them prioritising heat over rent. The end result? Poor cash flow for the portfolio owner, unhappy tenants and assets worth significantly less than a well maintained efficient portfolio.
A more sustainable strategy would be to engage an infrared company to rapidly benchmark the portfolio and create an efficient retrofit programme. This type of audit for property defects  or energy inefficiencies can be done rapidly at very low cost, maximising your tight budget with a small efficient maintenance team to programme the works.

2. Wanting to access external funding

You don’t seem to get your share of the available funding from utilities. Constant changes to government legislation mean utility companies, brokers, insulators, boiler installation companies etc are all fighting to spend the utility companies ECO budget and need to find quick routes to buy carbon measures. ECO is essentially a vast pot of money paid into by us all, aggregated and held by the utility companies then distributed to help improve the energy performance of the built environment. (To say terms and conditions apply would be an understatement!) Those who understand the rules and their portfolio requirements always seem to get more than you. Why? Mainly, because the funders know it will be fast and easy to deploy their money and achieve their desired “bang for buck”.
Historically suppliers are always chasing the lowest hanging fruit – where can I buy a cheap tonne of carbon. We say this with lightbulbs being given away, loft insulation being subsidised at B&Q etc. Those were easy options and a simple cost effective way for the utilities to meet their obligations – everyone wants an easy life after all. Those easy, quick wins are gone now. Deploying your ECO budget is much more difficult. But as a client, an end user, you need to be aware that each company will push items that suit their agenda. Your priorities are very much secondary to them. If that.
The solution for you is to make your data accurate and available to funders and you will suddenly get a bigger slice of the pie. Use infrared technology to enable this access to money and your portfolio will be improved at very little cost to you. Improving your bottom line, meeting your environmental targets and best of all, helping your save tenants money – perhaps even taking them out of fuel poverty in the process. Over a three year period IRT surveys did just that for 60,000 homes across 83 housing associations in partnership with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations. We repeated this model with several other housing associations and local authorities including Aberdeen City with 50% funding from the ECCI, the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, North Lanarkshire Council, and Yarlington HA in Devon and Cornwall. Totalling over 138,500 homes.

3. Mistrust

You don’t trust the advice you are being given by your supply chain. Your boiler company recommends boilers, your insulation company says you can save more by insulating. Who is correct? Both? Neither? They are experts in their field, you have deadlines to meet and not enough time to explore the variety of options and solutions on the market today, let alone understand the complexities of an ever changing funding landscape.. Having lost your staff due to cut backs or a recent merger has meant you now have double the amount of properties to manage. How can you be expected to create a retrofit programme that complies with legislation, meets with your KPIs and your tight budget? All whilst consultants are pushing their own products and promising you their solution is THE solution? Honest and impartial advice, provided through an infrared energy audit to detect energy inefficiencies  is vital to optimise your budget.

4. Poor asset data quality

You need to upgrade your assets but the data you have on their efficiency and build is incomplete, inaccurate or just plain missing. Making plans based upon poor data only leads to bad plans. You cannot be expected to produce investment grade audits and plans based upon poor data. If you have any doubts, your instincts and business acumen will tell you not proceed. Time to call infrared technology expert to help you get a clear picture through simple accurate reporting. It will also help get management onboard your project and provide your tenants with uncomplicated information.

5. Suspect quality of build

Even if you do trust your data and advice you have been given, more often than not the reality of the built environment is such that what was designed is seldom what is actually built. This is a well documented problem often referred to as the ‘performance gap’. Organisations such as the BRE and Zero Carbon Hub  often mention this issue and it’s a very real concern. Planning to render a building that has damp or void cavity fill will be a waste of money and time. Let a winter and summer go by with your new render applied over a damp base and all of a sudden your new scheme looks as bad as the one you replaced in the first place. Better you establish the true condition of your building by using infrared technology before you spend your budget. Do it once, but do it right. Infrared audits will help you analyse and quantify thermal images, provide a visual audit trail and help you mitigate this risk.

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