Product Review

Infrared Cameras Provide View of Building Performance

Infrared (IR) cameras make the invisible visible: they detect heat in the form of infrared radiation, which we normally can’t see, and convert it to a colorful image that we can view and analyze. Hotter surfaces emit more infrared radiation than cooler surfaces, allowing cameras to convert them to warm colors on screen, in contrast with cooler colors for colder surfaces. IR cameras are valuable tools for assessing building performance, but they are complicated pieces of equipment that require training to get accurate, useful results.

Also known as thermal cameras, thermographic cameras, or thermal imagers, IR cameras consist of a lens, detector, electronics, display, and software, and can vary in price from under $2,000 to over $20,000, depending on features. They typically come with a standard lens that works well at moderate distances, such as low-rise roof eaves, but will also work at shorter distances, such as interior walls. Specialty lenses are also available, including wide-angle lenses used primarily indoors and telephoto lenses that provide detailed views of windows in high-rise buildings, for example.

Published September 29, 2010

Ehrlich, B. (2010, September 29). Infrared Cameras Provide View of Building Performance. Retrieved from