That's a first - thermal scanning with drones!

07 March 2023 - Published by Deirdre Buist
There’s more hot news from our Flemish partners! IGEMO,Roeselare and Vives University of Applied Sciences have collaborated in a number of neighbourhoods in the city of Roeselare and Sint-Katelijne Waver to detect heat losses – by deploying thermal-scanning drones

The drone flights are designed to raise energy awareness amongst citizens - while the results are included in the energy renovation advice and guidance provided by Stekr.


Vives DroneLab are now using thermal-scanning drones in neighbourhoods in Roeselare and Sint-Katelijne-Waver.

Flying thermal camera

The Energy Neighbourhood Krottegem in Roeselare was the first to be visited by the VIVES drone team. The scans with a drone gave a valuable overview of thermal losses in one street in particular. The roof scan is a good addition to the thermal facade scan which  made by the WVI Thermocar, on which roofs are not visible.

The same goes for Sint-Katelijne-Waver where the roofs of houses in the Schrans district were scanned by a flying thermal camera to get a picture – literally - of where the houses are losing heat. By using a drone, heat losses can be registered for more houses at a time.

In Sint-Katelijne-Waver these drone scans supplement the information gained using hand-held thermal scanners. This way,  IGEMO’s energy advice platform Stekr, and the municipality can map which houses are losing the most heat. 

Neighbourhood focus

“The project is focused on specific neighbourhoods with older houses and little to no insulation,” says Jeroen Baeten, the local councilor for Sustainable Development. “Once the thermal scans have been carried out, Stekr discusses the individual results with the residents. Ultimately, our aim is to convince them to take energy-saving measures – and if agreed, they’ll receive further guidance from the Stekr energy coach.”

Renovation coaching

In Roeselare, the drone flight was followed by an info moment. Residents could come and see the drone, the thermal image of the street and that of their house. Ine Lobelle, project coordinator of the Stronghouse project: “The new technology speaks to the imagination and attracted a lot of people to the info moment. This was also an excellent opportunity to communicate in terms of renovation coaching and energy efficiency options.” In just one month, 300 citizens signed up to view thermal images of their homes and for additional renovation coaching. 

Important information source

“Up to now we only had hand-held thermal cameras scanning from the ground. We are really pleased with the close collaboration with Vives University and their DroneLab expertise. This has led to the introduction of drones as an extra, important source of information,” says project leader Evelien Impens from IGEMO. “A lot of heat is lost through the roof. In addition, we can scan more roofs at the same time which is a great advantage.”


Extra regulations

Using drones  requires some more planning as certain regulations have to be adhered to. Since no pedestrians or moving vehicles are allowed in the vicinity during the scan, the streets in the neighbourhood must be temporarily closed off.