Strathclyde students monitor energy efficiency with drones

Students are coupling thermal imaging cameras to drones to monitor energy efficiency in buildings.


The team from Strathclyde University’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering are set to commercialise the concept, which is designed to give a comprehensive assessment of energy use.

The partners in the project – Americo Pino, Ken Brooksbank, and Kai Pham – have named their start-up Drone Wrangler and are exploring the diversity and viability of drone technology to provide services across industries including energy, agriculture and construction.

“Energy efficiency is important in buildings for environmental and economic reasons but some equipment used to measure it is expensive and doesn’t always give a full reading,” Americo said. “Drones can make these types of inspections more comprehensive and thermal imaging technology takes this a step further.

“Our drone lifts off automatically and can link to around 17 satellites at a time, so it’s very precise in the images it takes and very safe to fly.

“We’re using this project as a proof of concept exercise and are working with Strathclyde’s Enterprise Hub in setting up a company called Drone Wrangler.”

On a recent test flight, the drone is said to have surveyed four buildings on Strathclyde’s campus – the Wolfson, Architecture, John Anderson and Sir William Duncan buildings – and a fifth building at the University’s playing fields at Stepps.

Each assessment took around 30 minutes to conduct and data from the 3-00am flight is now being analysed by the team.