Is Thermal Imaging Key to the Future of Smart Buildings & Homes? 

 August 24, 2022

By  Randy Angwin

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Last updated on August 24, 2022

We all started hearing about thermal imaging a long time ago from movies. You saw how agents would use the device to find a secret lair or help save the day.

Still, we can also use thermal imaging for more mundane tasks, like construction. It’s a massive help when it comes to smart homes. This led some people to wonder, is thermal imaging key to the future of smart buildings and homes?

So, let’s look at thermal imaging and how it comes in handy with smart homes.

What Is Thermal Imaging?

Before we dive into how we use thermal imaging, it’s a good idea for you to understand what it is. 

When we take a picture, the camera picks up the different lights in the image and captures a perfect copy.

Thermal imaging uses a similar process, but instead of light, it records heat. Using infrared radiation, we can gather information about the temperature of an object.

We do that by measuring the thermal energy an item is emitting. With this information, we can create a thermal image.

The picture will contain a gradient of colors to signify specific conditions. Usually, blue indicates something is cool, while red shows hot spots.

How bright an object is in a thermal image also presents crucial information. The more colorful a section is, the higher its temperature.

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How Is Thermal Imaging Being Used in Smart Buildings?

Now that you understand thermal imaging, we can discuss how it can be helpful.

Most smart buildings have only one aspect in common. They all heavily rely on electronics to ensure many processes run smoothly.

This can help with general organization and reduces human error. With all the automated services in play, it can be challenging to keep track of everything.

So, we can use thermal images instead of relying on our eyes. Each device gives off a unique thermal fingerprint.

A quick temperature scan can pinpoint any thermal discrepancies. That means you can identify any gadget or system that’s not behaving how it should.

This makes finding the issue and resolving it a much more streamlined task. Not only can it increase efficiency, but it also lowers costs.

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How Thermal Imaging Is Improving Building Energy Management Practices

As soon as you become a homeowner, you realize how vital the electric bill is. You start to notice every time you turn on a switch, and you make sure you switch it off when you’re done.

This is all to avoid a huge energy bill. A key aspect of keeping your utility bill on a budget is eliminating waste energy. Still, this is easier said than done.

Thermal imaging can help make this process a little simpler. This is apparent when you consider the heating of your home.

Even though most houses have central heating, some rooms are colder than others. That may make it tricky for your HVAC system to determine how much heat it needs to produce.

With thermal imaging, you can figure out the exact temperatures and how much heat you need to warm them up.

The same concept applies to lighting and air conditioning. Together, they can significantly reduce your energy consumption.

Is Thermal Imaging Necessary?

The necessity of thermal imaging will depend on your specific home. 

Most smart houses depend on these images to ensure the safety and comfort of their residents. They have many applications, each one more vital than the other. In this case, the images are crucial.

However, not all smart homes share the same design. Other forms of security and monitoring take over the role of thermal imaging. In this scenario, the images don’t play a significant role.

Is Thermal Imaging Effective?

Even though it may not be necessary, thermal imaging is incredibly effective. This monitoring method can keep track of many systems simultaneously at no extra cost.

In addition, it can show you the precise position of any issues with standard processes. 

IoT-Based Thermal Model

IoT stands for the Internet of Things. This group of sensors can share information over the internet to provide a service.

Each one of these sensors can identify a specific quality of a space. Depending on how you build your IoT system, the model will change.

A thermal model monitors the temperature to pinpoint issues. These problems may include:

  • Leaks
  • High voltage system failure
  • Fires

How Can Thermal Imaging Be Used in Homes/Non-commercial Spaces?

If you plan to install a thermal imaging system, you should know its applications. 


One of the best features of a thermal imaging system is better safety. With traditional security cameras, you need a constant, intense light source. This can be costly, and there will always be a blind spot.

However, with thermal imaging, you don’t need any light at all. It shows you if there is any foreign object moving on your property. That makes it much more suited for nighttime security.

Since each person has a different heat signature, it can also tell you the number of occupants in your house.

Monitoring Home Temperature

Thermal images can show you an overview of your entire home. As we mentioned before, this can aid your HVAC in figuring out heating requirements.

Still, temperature monitoring can be helpful in a couple of other ways.

The first is to identify failing insulation. These images can show you if one or more of your walls needs a little more heat-proofing.

As for the second, you can find the rooms that get the most sunlight. This can come in handy if you want to start an indoor garden.

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Monitoring Laundry and Cooking Devices

When you’re running your daily chores, it’s easy to get distracted. The tasks can be repetitive and time-consuming.

So, you may decide to turn on your washing machine and then relax on the couch with a book. The same also applies to most types of slow cookers.

Most of the time, this is safe to do. Still, sometimes it can be hazardous. With a thermal imaging system, this is no longer an issue.

You can keep an eye on any device’s temperature with a click of a button. In addition, the system will sound an alert if any gadget gets too hot.

Home Inspections

A daily inspection is a crucial step to ensure your home's safety. You check that all the lights are off and unplug any unused gadgets.

Instead of manually checking all these aspects, a thermal image can do it for you. With a temperature sweep, you can tell if there are any problems in your home.

This can help you discover issues before it’s too late and too much damage has occurred.

Final Thoughts

Is thermal imaging key to the future of smart buildings and homes? In many aspects, yes. Thermal imaging can improve security and monitoring across your entire home. 

It can help you identify leaks, faulty gadgets, and the number of occupants in your house. In addition, you can use it to keep an eye on your laundry and cooking while you tend to other tasks.

About the author 

Randy Angwin

Randy Angwin holds a master of science degree from University of Florida. He is an expert in infrared and night vision technology. His knowledge helps us staying on top of the latest trends in the thermal industry. When not working, Randy likes to hunt and spend time with his two German shepherds.

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