Energetic youths scan the neighbourhood

02 March 2021 - Published by Deirdre Buist
Within the framework of Stronghouse our Belgian partner supports eight municipalities in the energy renovation of their homes through the one-stop citizen service platform Stekr. Amongst other things, IGEMO trains citizens to use thermographic scanning to map energy waste. The latest developments now include extending this technical knowledge to students. It’s their future after all. In February the youth of Puurs – Sint-Amands, Antwerp explored their neighbourhoods armed with thermographic cameras.


We previously reported the IGEMO/Stekr training of volunteers to carry out neighbourhood scans as part of a community’thermo-brigade’. Project Coordinator Evelien Impens explains: “We think it’s important not to focus only on raising awareness but also to pass on knowledge and experience so that everyone is included in this energy narrative.”

Heat-loss heroes

Two schools in the area participated in this project. As temperatures dropped below 10°C, energy leaks were easier to detect for the young ‘heat-loss heroes’. Following a crash course and a practice run scanning school buildings, they were free to take the cameras home and explore more energy leaks in their own homes or neighbourhood.

Interactive learning

And not without result! The sixth year Science & Maths students from LAB-Gedreven Onderwijs noticed how many houses still had single glass. They also found many examples of significant heat loss through roofs and thermal bridges in facades. Their Physics teacher Ann Verley was pleasantly surprised at how fast the students picked up this thermo-technology: “The camera is easy enough to use but interpreting the images requires some insight. The context and surroundings are important factors when analysing results. This project was an interesting and interactive way to learn more about physics and the climate.”

Gunter Van den Bergh, teacher of Electrical Engineering: “While scanning our street I saw that one of the neighbours was losing a lot of heat through the roof. He got on it straight away and is now insulating his roof. It’s great to see that these thermal images can lead to direct action.”


Students from the LAB-Gedreven Onderwijs

Snowball effect

Councillor for Climate and Sustainability Alex Goethals, came to see the results of the Sint-Jan Berchmans Institute students in person. “The municipality Puurs – Sint-Amand is making headway - with solar panels and less street lighting, for instance – but we really need to move faster on the energy renovation of old houses. The youth is helping to raise this issue in the community. We hope the project will snowball and are really happy our citizens can benefit from the Stekr services.”


Students from SJABI in action.

Personalized advice

Those who apply for a free thermographic home scan also receive a personalized advice, without commitment. Trained students and volunteers carry out the requested scans and group sessions are organized for those who want to discuss their renovation options further.

If you'd like to know more visit Stekr (in Dutch) or Meet the Partners: Igemo


Currated from an article by Evelien Impens, IGEMO