Honors Students Conduct Energy Conservation Study Using Thermal Imaging Camera

Two Penn State Greater Allegheny honors students -- Erick Froede Jr., an engineering major from Budd Lake, N.J., and Anthony Palocaren Sr., engineering major from West Mifflin -- are working with engineering instructor Dr. Eric Lipsky on a class project to determine the loss of energy through the existing windows of the Frable building.

The investigative analysis will be done using a thermal imaging camera provided by the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP). This program is an outreach extension service of Penn State University providing technical assistance and performing energy efficiency assessments for Pennsylvania manufacturers. In addition, PennTAP is committed to helping Penn State faculty promote an energy conservation ethic among Penn State students through the use of energy efficiency assessment equipment in the classroom, special projects, and other "real world" experiences. Roger Price, senior technical specialist for PennTAP based at Penn State Greater Allegheny will show students how to use the thermal imaging camera as a tool to help perform the analysis.

The heat loss will be determined by taking temperature measurements using both a thermocouple and a thermal imaging camera. The camera takes both a digital image and a thermal image which can then be used to find the average surface temperature of an area. The insulation values of the windows are then calculated using the temperature information. This will then be compared with the insulation values of 
newer windows to calculate the energy savings that can be expected with new windows. Then the cost analysis will then be performed to estimate the payback time for replacing all of the windows of the 
Frable building.