Home » IRT wins funding for AI tool to curb heat loss in homes

IRT wins funding for AI tool to curb heat loss in homes

by Sion Geschwindt
IRT wins funding for AI tool to analyse heat loss in homes

Dundee-based thermal imaging company IRT has received funding from Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI, The Data Lab, to develop and use AI to reduce heat loss in homes.

IRT will work with academics at Robert Gordon University to develop AI-based software to automatically remove redundant objects including trees and cars from its thermal image scans, saving the company significant time per year in manual cropping.

IRT currently relies on staff to manually process and prepare images for analysis – which includes amongst other things removing unwanted elements such as windows and doors (where currently reflections could be confused for heat loss), or neighbouring houses and cars.

Given the automated process of other elements of this framework, IRT turned to The Data Lab and Robert Gordon University to gain access to funding and the skills to develop an AI solution.

The solution will allow the IRT team to accelerate their existing capability in the decarbonisation of the built environment, in line with Scottish Government policy to address fuel poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it said in a press release.

Streamlining data processing

The company expects that the system will speed up the pre-processing of images tenfold, allowing their team to focus more of their time on analysing the processed data.

The solution is also predicted to allow IRT to develop a more detailed retrofit assessment for all properties processed.

Stewart Little, CEO at IRT, said: “Image cropping has become a very labour-intensive task for us resulting in bottlenecks for our relatively small team.

“This has had a direct correlation on productivity as we can lose weeks of time as we crop hundreds of images a day.

“Once the software has been developed in partnership with the brilliant team at Robert Gordon University, our team will once again be able to focus on image analysis which will increase the quality of service we provide our customers, as well as provide us with a competitive edge.

“This will also mean we can better serve our client base which will, in turn, allow us to hire more staff. In addition to meeting our ambitious growth plans, our work will further contribute to the decarbonisation of the existing building stock in Scotland.”

Further reading:

Brian Hills, CEO, The Data Lab, said: “Seeing organisations recognise how AI could benefit them continues to drive everything that we do at The Data Lab.

“When there is the added benefit of supporting an organisation move towards a net zero future, all the while contributing to a societal change, that takes this motivation to the next level.

“This project with IRT and Robert Gordon University is a fantastic example of how important AI will be in directly addressing the challenges of delivering on Scotland’s world-leading climate change legislation.”

The software is currently in development via a team at Robert Gordon University. It is hoped that IRT will be rolling out the final solution by the end of 2022.

Image: Ivan Smuk/Shutterstock

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