Satellite launched to map energy-inefficient buildings

Satellite Vu - A rocket launching into space.
(Image: SatVu)

A British start-up has launched a satellite that can measure the heat output from any building on the planet from orbit.

London-based Satellite Vu said the spacecraft, called HotSat-1, will act as “the first thermometer in the sky” able to help tackle the climate emergency.

The data from the satellite can help identify which buildings are less energy efficient and inform retrofitting and insulation strategies.

HotSat-1 uses thermal imaging technology to measure buildings’ energy efficiency and assess heat loss.

Satellite Vu - A square satellite in a room.
HotSat-1 (Image: Surrey Satellite Technology Limited)

It has a 3.5m resolution mid-wave infrared imager with video capability and a sensitivity of less than 2 deg C.

3D profiles

The satellite video generation capability can detect dynamic features and create 3D profiles. These can then be used for multiple applications.

According to the manufacturer of the satellite, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, HotSat-1’s geospatial data will enable strategic planning to accelerate decarbonisation globally.

HotSat-1 is the first of eight satellites Satellite Vu plans to launch.

Last month, Leeds City Council used an aerial thermal imaging technique developed by Satellite Vu to identify the heat loss from houses in the city.

The pilot project aimed to demonstrate a new technology that could help reduce the environmental impact of housing in Leeds and elsewhere by making homes more efficient.

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  1. So can this technology discriminate between well insulated heated buildings and poorly insulated but unheated buildings?

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