MyHEAT: A Cool Tool for Homeowners
A cold draft coming into your home on a frigid December morning is uncomfortable. Most homeowners will search diligently for the source of that draft, and either close the window left cracked open by your teenage son who snuck back into the house well after curfew, places a “draft snake” at the foot of your front door, or cover up the cracks around your old window frame with some weather stripping. Unfortunately, while dealing with drafts is a great way to improve your home's energy efficiency, the vast majority of dwellings lose much more heat in ways that you can’t necessarily feel or see.
While a professional home energy advisor can help you locate where heat leaks occur in your home, the national average for a home energy audit costs almost $400. At the same time, buildings with larger square footage might well pay four times that amount. While the payback time on an energy audit (and the recommendations made by the advisor) is usually relatively quick, homeowners in some urban regions of Canada have a unique online tool at their fingertips that essentially gives them a free energy audit.
Below, Rise takes an in-depth look at how MyHEAT works and some of the advantages it offers to homeowners looking to improve their homes' energy efficiency and sustainability.
Why Do Homes Lose Heat?
The heat that is produced in your home or captured via sunlight through passive solar design, unfortunately, doesn’t stay where you want it: inside the walls of your home. Following those immutable laws of physics, heat energy is transferred from homes through conduction, as the heat moves through windows, floors, walls, and the roof of your home. Heat energy can also leave your home through a process known as convection, wherein cold air currents carry heat away from your home. Of course, air leakages also create ventilation where heat losses can occur quickly.
Cavity insulation is one of the most essential strategies to stop heat loss in a home. Insulation creates a barrier between the inside and outside of your home and thus reduces the heat loss by conduction. Insulation can also stop air circulating in the cavity between your exterior and interior walls, thus further reducing the heat loss through convection.
Unfortunately, recent research has found that upwards of 90 percent of homes in the United States are under-insulated. Improved insulation in dwellings could lead to a substantial decrease in residential energy use while simultaneously improving the comfort of your home. Unlike those pesky drafts coming from your cracked window frame, heat loss through a poorly insulated wall is hard to feel and impossible to see. MyHEAT, however, offers an easy-to-use tool to help homeowners identify precisely where their homes are losing heat.
What is MyHEAT?
MyHEAT is a Calgary, Canada-based company that uses an award-winning technology called Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) methods to detect, map, and monitor the invisible waste heat escaping from different types of buildings. This technology allows them to rely on large-scale data processing to establish precisely where energy and heat escape from residential, industrial, commercial, and other types of buildings.
The heat loss data is collected through a thermal sensor attached to the bottom of an airplane that subsequently flies over some urban regions where homes are located.
The MyHEAT team has developed an easy-to-use and innovative online platform that offers detailed information on the energy and heat loss in their home. The MyHEAT platform also provides a wealth of knowledge to help homeowners understand their energy loss, increase the overall energy efficiency of their homes, and thus reduce energy consumption while saving money. Their mission is to empower a worldwide reduction in urban greenhouse gas emissions, one building at a time.
MyHEAT helps individual homeowners determine the amount of heat lost by their home, but this same tool can also be used on a larger level. MyHEAT works with several local government agencies to help them achieve their stated energy efficiency objectives. They do this by sharing with utility companies and government agencies the heat loss data that they recollect. This information then could allow political leaders to better inform their program design, target incentives to homeowners who live in regions characterized by high energy inefficiency and enhance customer engagement. Because the technology used by MyHEAT can compare heat loss results across cities and over time, it is also a great tool to compare the best energy-efficient incentives and practices implemented by local governments and track the success of specific programs.
Benefits of the MyHEAT Tool
The MyHEAT tool essentially gives homeowners in the areas where they operate a free aerial map of their home that shows precisely how much heat their house is losing. Instead of paying for an expensive energy audit that includes infrared thermal imaging to determine areas of heat loss through your home, this tool gives you a free look at the thermal performance of your home.
The heat loss rating that is assigned to individual homes and buildings is accurate to 0.05°C. While this rating is not necessarily an energy efficiency rating, homes with high amounts of heat loss are generally those that consume large amounts of energy to keep their home warm during the winter.
If you live in an area where MyHEAT has collected data, the heat loss rating assigned to your home is a handy tool that gives you an idea of the potential energy savings your home could benefit from through certain upgrades and renovations. The MyHEAT team has determined that one unit of improvement in the HEAT Rating corresponds to a 3-5% reduction in natural gas consumption and a 1-1.5% reduction in electricity consumption.
An Innovative Tool for Homeowners
One of the biggest challenges with heat loss in homes is that it is difficult to address a problem that you cannot see. However, the free thermal maps provided by MyHEAT allow homeowners in select Canadian cities to visualize the thermal performance of their homes and then make informed decisions on how to improve the overall energy efficiency of their houses.
MyHEAT currently offers aerial thermal maps of Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and eight other mid-sized cities across Canada. If your city currently doesn’t benefit from the MyHEAT mapping tool, you can vote for your city to be included and will receive notification if it is chosen.Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-10T04:40:06+0000