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Thermal imaging camera case study – Sandringham School

Background information

Sandringham School has a commitment to become more sustainable across multiple areas and has identified this as a key developmental focus this year. Several activities and initiatives have taken place in the last two years and one of these involved a student survey of energy efficiency.

International Science Week

International science week took place in March 2020 with a focus on sustainability, and the school borrowed the Sustainable St Albans thermal imaging camera in order to give the pupils an idea of the variation in energy efficiency of different buildings, and what happens in heated rooms with windows and doors left open, compared to when these are closed. 

” They were literally blown away by what they could see…”

Teacher Barry Lee, who ran the investigation, commented: “We completed the activity with different groups of year 9 students and they loved the camera; they were literally blown away by what they could see.” The students commented; “This is amazing, I can see the heat!” and “Wow! Look at the colour of the open window”. Mr Lee said: “It really was eye opening”

“It really made the energy efficiency of buildings stand out. Even down to where the shadows were, it made that much of a difference.”

Visual and thermal images of the classroom taken from outside with the door left open  

Figure 1: Visual image of the classroom taken from outside with the door left open

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2: Thermal image of the classroom taken from outside with the door left open.

The two thermal images (Figure 2 and Figure 3) display the differences seen. (The warmest areas are coloured yellow and coolest areas are blue). In the image with the door open (Figure 2 above), the temperature is cool (about 15º C ) despite having a working heater in it (the yellow patch above the date in the thermal image). All the heat is escaping out of the open door. 

The other image (Figure 3 below) is of a room where the door is only just opened and the interior is much warmer (more than 20 ºC ). 

Figure 3: Thermal image looking at a room from outside with the door only just opened

The students’ investigations

The students gave a short presentation in assembly about the findings when they surveyed the different buildings around the school.

Their investigation demonstrated the importance of taking simple steps, like closing windows when leaving the classroom, and of not leaving the doors to the outside open, to prevent heat loss and to save energy in school.

What next?

When school returns for all students in September, we hope to build on the interest and ideas learnt and hope to undertake many other activities related to issues of sustainability.

Use our thermal imaging camera

Our thermal imaging cameras are available to borrow. To find out more about how you can use one on your home or buildings, visit our thermal imaging camera page.


Acknowledgements – We would like to thank Barry Lee for providing the photographs and also Kate Mouncey from Sandringham school.

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