Library program helps with home energy efficiency

TNRL members can take home thermal imaging cameras to see how well their homes are insulated

Thompson-Nicola Regional Library (TNRL) and FortisBC recently announced the launch of the See the Heat program, which allows TNRL members to take home thermal imaging cameras to see how well their home is insulated and sealed.

“We’ve got cameras for both Android and IOS operating systems and people can place a hold on them just like you would your favourite mystery novel or bestseller; you can do that through the website and the library catalogue or you can contact your local library to help give you a hand,” said Melissa Lowenberg, manager of Community Libraries and Engagement for TNRL.

“But patrons would need to know what device they’re going to attach it to—some folks don’t know if they have Android or IOS and sometimes we’re helping them figure that out.”

After connecting the camera to a smart phone and downloading the app, the camera is ready to discover the heat losses in one’s home.

The loans for the cameras, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis, are for one week at a time, after which patrons can get retrofit kits provided by FortisBC to help address problem areas in their homes where cold air gets into the house.

The kits contain items like weather stripping, foam pieces to break drafts coming in from outside outlets, and window film, Lowenberg added.

“The intent is that you could do a before picture of the worst places in your home and use the retrofit kit to do some small home modifications, then you take an after photo of the change that you made,” she said.

“You’re probably not going be able to quantify the exact savings you’ve made, but you could demonstrably see it in the image.”

See the Heat is a tool to raise awareness about chances residents have to improve their homes and to help build energy literacy in communities, as well as to promote EfficiencyBC.ca, a website that offers information on available rebates from utility providers and various levels of government for homeowners.

Not only will increased energy efficiency save homeowners cash and improve the comfort of their homes, it will also help to advance communities’ climate change efforts, according to TNRL.

There’s no end date for the program, with Lowenberg saying it’s going to be offered indefinitely, giving everyone chance to try it out if they’re interested.

“We’re just trying to raise awareness for these opportunities for people, and the library is really a place people can borrow items or learn things; maybe most of us wouldn’t go out and buy a thermal camera, but it’s kind of a neat thing to go borrow one,” she said.

“We’ve had such a tremendous interest that we’re actually trying to get more cameras at the moment, because honestly, the community interest has been outstanding, so we’re in the process of trying to get more resources for it too.”

Anyone interested in more information on the See the Heat program can visit www.tnrl.ca/seetheheat

According to TNRL, existing buildings are responsible for roughly 30 per cent of community-wide emissions and are therefore central to any effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Glen Cheetham, the sustainability services supervisor for the City of Kamloops where the program launched said, “These thermal imaging cameras provide really striking images; they make the somewhat abstract concept of heat loss more tangible for people, which we hope motivates improvements to home energy efficiency.”

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