Insulation and Window Performance
Some of the highest thermal energy losses from a building are through windows and poorly insulated walls. These thermal losses contribute significantly to the energy used by HVAC systems and in turn, the energy bill and carbon footprint of the building.
There is currently no accurate way of monitoring how well a building's thermal insulative materials are performing. It is advantageous to determine exactly how much energy an efficient window or higher quality wall insulation could save the energy bill payer compared to the currently installed materials. Highly expensive infrared cameras are typically used to compare efficiencies of different windows and insulation but reflectivity of the surfaces dramatically affects their accuracy. IR cameras are also limited because they only show relative maps of temperature and not quantitative heat loss. These IR instruments often give false information about the thermal envelope of buildings and how well the insulation is performing.
Image 1: Heat Flux occurs through all areas of a building envelope. FluxTeq's PHFS-09e heat flux sensors can measure this heat transfer directly. Source: https://fet.uwe.ac.uk/conweb/hi4web/Principles/print.htm
Application of Heat Flux Sensors
Unlike typical thermal sensors that only give values of temperature at certain locations, heat flux sensors directly measure thermal energy through surfaces. FluxTeq has developed low cost heat flux sensors that can be easily placed on walls and windows to measure and monitor thermal energy loss/gain through them.
Heat Flux Sensors can be used to determine R-values of windows, walls, and other building materials.
Measured heat flux values from heat flux sensors can then be correlated to total heat loss from a building and thus overall money being spent on energy bills. Pictured below is a heat flux sensor developed by FluxTeq and placed on an inside window surface during a cold day.
The heat flux sensor was placed on the window with double-stick adhesive tape. The sensor's measurements read out to an LCD device developed by T.I. (sold separately from our sensors) that is programmed by FluxTeq. A standard thermocouple that is integrated on all of our heat flux sensors also provides the temperature of the window's inside surface.
Different types of windows and thermal insulation perform differently under various environments. Many people don’t understand how effective their currently installed thermal insulation and windows are performing. Using a heat flux sensor to directly measure thermal energy loss/gain through the materials can quantitatively show exactly how effective they are working to prevent thermal energy loss.
Furthermore, this setup can be combined with a temperature sensor on the outside surface of the thermally insulative material to directly measure the thermal resistance, or effective R-value of the material.
These are just a few examples of the many applications of heat flux sensors. FluxTeq has the capabilities of providing these sensors in large quantities for your project.
Have an idea for a use or application? FluxTeq will work with you to customize a system that will fit your project's requirements. Contact us today to discuss using heat flux sensors in your application.