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ASHRAE funds aerial vehicle for energy audits

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Under a project funded through an ASHRAE Undergraduate Senior Project Grant, engineers will get a bird’s eye view of the energy use of building envelopes.


ASHRAE grants are used to design and construct projects, such as The University of Alabama’s proposal to use an unmanned aerial vehicle to document building energy audits. The project notes that while building audits are a key process for determining building efficiency, performance and faults, audits require knowledge of the internal building and energy system and the external building envelope, which can present a challenge. The goal of the project is to build a co-robot (human controlled with robotic assistance) quadcopter with onboard sensors including infrared temperature camera, visible light camera, heat flux sensors, direct temperature probes and location and orientation.


“The vehicle would be used to quantify envelope characteristics of hard-to-reach and large regions on modern buildings,” Zheng O’Neill, Ph.D., of the Mechanical Engineering Department and advisor of the project, said. “The information will provide engineers with systematically measured control volume characteristics. For example, infrared thermal camera data will provide information of building envelope temperature, which can be used for building infiltration diagnostics.”


This year, 24 schools from around the world were awarded grants by ASHRAE. The grants, totaling some $110,000, are awarded to colleges and universities worldwide to promote the study and teaching of HVAC&R, encouraging senior undergraduate students to pursue related careers.



For further information, please visit the relevant ASHRAE website.