Cooler Roofs Reduce CO2 Emissions

As cool as a shiny new black sports car is there is wisdom in choosing one with a white paint job. With the sun bombarding the cars body the black paint will naturally absorb more of that energy and the white car will reflect it. This for some is a matter of life and death in the middle of summer as the inside of their cars transform into state of the art pizza ovens while they’re parked.

Slowly a similar and common theme is becoming apparent with in the building construction industry. More and more new buildings are having light coloured roofs installed instead of the standard darker colours.

Common sense seems to be prevailing at last and now also backed up with research. Lighter coloured roofs reflect more sunlight there fore keeping the building interior cooler. Coupled with ceiling and wall insulation, blinds and properly treated windows the air-conditioner will be under less stress in the middle of summer thereby cutting down usage leading to the drop in CO2 emissions. In fact white coloured roofs are possibly the quickest and cheapest way to start reducing house hold CO2 emissions. Along with cooling the interior of the building by reflecting heat radiation they also reduce what is called the urban heat island effect. This effect can be caused by such things as darker coloured roofs absorbing heat and retaining it through out the day and slowly releasing that energy into the air thereby raising the ambient temperature of that area. Entire cities can become heated this way and this can be detrimental for the energy efficiency of the city as a hole.

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Aerial Thermal images showing the cooler roofs in shades of blue reflecting the heat. Note that most other house roofs are almost as hot as the road surface which is by far the hottest.

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Same as above, the houses with the lighter coloured roofs reflect more heat than those with darker colours.

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Not as many light coloured roofs in this area. Although coolour matters most, material is also a vital factor. Metal roofs will reflect more than tile or slate.

Extensive studies, especially in the United States, have now caused governments to act. For instance in the US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced a series of initiatives at the Department of Energy to more broadly implement cool roof technologies on DOE facilities and buildings across the federal government. Other governments have also taken action and have started encouraging local builders to start installing white roofs along with light coloured exterior finishes.


The people of the Island of Santorini have the idea.


Landsat Satellites catch deforestation red handed

Illegal deforestation can no longer remain hidden

The World’s forests are shrinking at an alarming and uncontrollable rate. There are of course a wide rage of causes ranging from cleared land for farming and ranching to mining and timber cultivation. Many of these take place within the some times thin and dotted boundaries of local and international law, but there are so many that slip past and go unseen. Thanks to the ever advancing technology of remote sensing these areas of illegal deforestation are slowly emerging out of the fog of corruption and ignorance.

Below images show a section of the Amazon forest near Tamshiyacu in Peru being illegally cleared for Palm Oil plantation. Many areas of the Amazon basin are completely cleared each year to make room for Palm, Soya and other plantations destroying entire ecosystems and endangering the survival of many plant and animal species, some of which have not yet been formally discovered.

The Palm trees planted are by no means a viable replacement for the natural habitat lost to hundreds of species and after cultivation Soya plantations just expand having depleted all the nutrients in the ground making the land completely useless. There are ways to make the land fertile again after the plantations have moved on but at great costs.



Tamshiyacu Peru showing the Amazon River on the left of the image. Landsat Image acquired October 5, 2012.


The same area as above showing the massive deforested area to the right. This area has been cleared to make way for an Oil Palm plantation. Landsat Image acquired August 28, 2013.

The Palm Oil industry has already left a great scar on the face of some of Earths most important and diverse rain-forests in Malaysia and Indonesia. Now the Palm Oil boom has started in Brazil and with carefully controlled sustainable cultivation it can greatly benefit the local industry and people as it should. If planted on the degraded pasture land that is becoming increasingly plentiful, oil palm could generate more jobs and higher incomes for locals than the dominant form of land use in the region: low intensity cattle ranching. Rather than destroying more rain-forest for more cattle pasture, local farmers could go into the oil palm business and benefit from its higher returns.

In the end education is key. Teaching the local peoples of affected countries how best to utilize the resources of their lands to prosper and advance, at the same time safe keeping it for future generations.

To find out more about Scantherma’s remote sensing services and how it can help your project please go here.

Is Your Home Energy Efficient?

As our society advances we become a little wiser and learn from our mistakes. We also learn more about our environment and how we fit in it. The Earth’s population is rising rapidly and at this point in time it can be said that humankind is directly impacting the environment more than ever before. As one can imagine this impact is mostly negative. You may look at this and ask your self what you can do.

Well there are many things we can all do at the grass roots to make a positive change. To slow down and eventually halt this negative impact. One of the many things that we can do is to make our homes energy efficient. This will reduce the carbon footprint of our homes thereby reducing greenhouse gases.

At Scantherma we conduct Energy Audits using state of the art Thermal Imaging equipment. These inspections along with the accompanying reports have helped countless homes and business save money and lower their carbon footprint. The following are some areas we look at when inspecting buildings for energy efficiency using our thermal imaging cameras.



Missing insulation can be clearly seen here as the warmer orange to yellow colours.

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Again there is some areas with missing roof insulation in the corner of the room as seen in yellow.


Here we can see some damaged roof insulation in yellow. The exposed tin roof is radiating heat into the roof space thus elevating the ambient temperature. This will in turn reflect the overall temperature of the building interior.

Air Leeks (infiltration – exfiltration)


Here we can see the effects of air infiltration by the blue tones in the image. The room behind this door is air-conditioned and the cool air is pushing through micro-gaps at the bottom of the door.

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Cool air is pushing through gaps behind the garage roller door represented by dark blue.


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In this image we can see an area with severe moisture damage in purple. This area was inundated by rain water pushing through small gaps in the exterior structure of the building.

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Structural damage in the building roof has allowed rain water to enter in and heavily damage this wall corner.

Heating / Cooling


This image shows the flow of cool air from the ducted air-conditioner vents. As can be seen the cool air flow is concentrated in one direction.

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Cool air flow can be seen here in dark purple in the air vent.


Heating vent can be seen here in yellow.

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Image of wall mounted reverse cycle air-conditioner unit after service. The blue shows unobstructed cold air flow.


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Here we can clearly see a conventional down-light that has just been turned on.


The same down-light after a few minutes of use. The core has heated up a fair amount and now shows the light at it’s optimum temperature range. Many similar lights heated up to above 80 degrees. These were later found to be faulty.


 Our FLIR Building Inspection Video.

You can find more of our FLIR videos on our YouTube channel here. Or if you would like to find out more about our Thermal Imaging services visit us here. Alternatively you can visit us at our Perth office here and one of our friendly technicians will be glad to help.


Landsat 8. Seeing the world change

The Earth is constantly changing and never before were we able to see it in such detail. For the past 4 decades the Landsat mission has been giving us invaluable Earth imagery. Now with Landsat 8 (formally Landsat Data Continuity Mission) images are streaming back to earth in greater detail and resolution.

Below are some examples of the vast amount of satellite imagery that can be found on the USGS website.

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Lake Urmia receding over time. Images were taken by Landsat 5 and Landsat 8, courtesy of NASA and USGS.

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Lake Bahr al Milh receding over time. Images were taken by Landsat 5, Landsat 7 and Landsat 8, courtesy of NASA and USGS.

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View of the 2013 Flooding in Cambodia. Images were taken by Landsat 8, courtesy of NASA and USGS.

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View of the the water level on Lake Mead in 2013. Images were taken by Landsat 8, courtesy of NASA and USGS.

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View of the 2013 Mississippi River Floods subsiding. Images were taken by Landsat 8, courtesy of NASA and USGS.

Landsat 8 officially started operating May 2013 when the satellites operations was transferred from NASA to USGS (United States Geological Survey). Along with this hand over the name of the mission was changed from Landsat Data Continuity Mission to Landsat 8. The USGS now manages the satellite flight operations team within the Mission Operations Center, which remains located at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Find the above and many more images taken by the Landsat mission satellites at high-resolution at

 If you’re after satellite imagery for commercial use Scantherma has high grade acquisition and image processing services. Images can be sourced from any commercial satellite, such as Landsat mission satellites and we can cater for most budgets with quick turn around. Visit the Remote Sensing section of the Scantherma website for more information.

ESA launches PROBA-V Satellite

When you hear of a satellite being launched what pictures come to mind? Probably something like this.

Launch of Delta IV NROL-65, August 28, 2013 from Vandenberg Air Force Base

Well that may be so. But never judge a book by its cover, or in this case size.

Now the European Space Agency has launched the PROBA-V, the newest in the PROBA series  of mini-satellites to monitor Earth’s vegetation.

This duty had, for the past 15 years been given to the SPOT-4 and SPOT-5 satellites, both much larger than PROBA-V.

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SPOT-4 Satellite in orbit

ESA launched this washing machine sized survey satellite on May 6th 2013 along with two other satellites in the same launch vehicle, the VEGA rocket. The first one being Vietnam’s VNREDSat Earth observation mission and the second Estonia’s ESTCube-1 student nano-satellite, to test electric solar sail technology.


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Proba-V sits on top of the VEGA launch adapter which contains the other two satellites. VNREDSat and ESTCube-1.

The VEGA VV02 Rocket ready for launch

It’s daily routine consists of orbiting the Earth 14 times and capturing vegetation data with it’s 100m resolution camera. Every 10 days it will output a 200,000 megapixel image of the Earth’s vegetation.


World Vegetation as captured by PROBA-V

As mentioned above this sort of data collection was and is to some degree done by the Vegetation 1 and Vegetation 2 sensors on the SPOT-4 and SPOT-5 satellites. But these sensors will be unavailable. To replace them ESA is developing a new series of satellites called Sentinel under the Copernicus program, previously called GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security).

Altogether 5 are being developed and Sentinel 3 will be taking on most of the duties of SPOT-4 and 5, and more. But these satellites will not be ready in time, so in order to breach the gap and have continuous collection of data  ESA decided to develop a small satellite mission based on the much successful PROBA design.

PROBA-V is designed and developed entirely in Belgium using state of the art technologies and will be “holding the fort” till ESA launches Sentinel 3 next year.

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PROBA-V ready for business

If you would like to know more about satellite imagery and Scantherma’s remote sensing services please visit our remote sensing page or drop in to our Perth office during business hours.

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in 3D

Researchers at EOMAP, a German aquatic remote sensing company, have for the first time created a 3D digital map of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem covering an area close to 350,000 square kilometers. EOMAP used satellite imagery and state of the art software to map this natural world wonder in 3D, giving a much more detailed image than what was previously available. In the past scientists had surveyed the Great Barrier Reef using more conventional methods such as boats and sonar but this new method has outputted an image of the Reef at a resolution never before seen at a depth of 30 meters.

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Image courtesy of EOMAP

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Image courtesy of EOMAP

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Image courtesy of EOMAP


Dr Robin Beaman, a marine geologist at James Cook University in Cairns says the data could provide policy makers and researchers with vital information needed to combat threats to the reef. This includes measuring the impact of rising sea levels and helping to measure water quality and ocean currents. It could also be used to model crown of thorn starfish larval trajectories to determine where they are next likely to inhabit the Great Barrier Reef.


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3D file of the Great Barrier Reef at 500 meters resolution. This file is downloadable in full from the EOMAP website.


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A sample area of the Great Barrier Reef 3D file at 2 meters resolution. This data can be purchased from the EOMAP website.


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The same 2 meter resolution sample area as above from a different angle. Great detail can be seen here in the blue area (reef).


For interested parties the imagery is available for purchase at EOMAP’s website with small sample areas available for free download.


For more information visit


Dr Robin Beaman:

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority:

Scantherma’s Remote Sensing services here.


FLIR revamps thermal camera range – i-Series discontinued, new Ex-Series launches

The new Ex-series cameras

World leading thermal camera manufacturer, FLIR,  are changing the market with the launch of the new Ex-series handheld thermal cameras. The new models E4, E5 E6 and E8 are a leap ahead in the function and flexibility of handheld thermographic tools.

With IR resolutions ranging from 80 x 60 pixels to 320 x 240 pixels for the new E8 model, is the first time FLIR has offered this resolution for pricing under $10,000 here in Australia.

The four new cameras in the Ex-series are replacing the old i Series cameras, which are now discontinued. The Ex-series also introduce new functionality above what the old i Series delivered including a revamped and simpler UI (user interface). In addition, all new Ex-series cameras come with an integrated a 1.3 Megapixel digital camera for additional functionality.

Patented MSX technology

One of the greatest leaps forward with the new Ex-series is the incorporation of FLIR’s patented MSX multi-spectral enhancement feature. This technology is unique only to FLIR cameras and adds an extra dimension to thermal imaging technology, particularly for domestic and industrial users.

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with no MSX

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with no MSX


Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with MSX. The difference most certainly increases the ability to better analyse thermal imagery.

Example image taken by the FLIR E8 with MSX. The difference most certainly increases the ability to better analyse thermal imagery.

Other changes to the Ex series

The Exx-series has also undergone some changes with the dropping of the E30 and upgrades to the E40, E50 and E60 cameras. While the IR resolution and many aspects such as inbuilt WiFi connectivity and manual focus don’t change. The upgraded Ex-Series cameras all now include:

  • MSX image technology
  • Auto orientation to switch between landscape and portrait views.
The new FLIR E6 thermal camera with MSX technology. At only 575 grams, the new Exx series are an excellent investment for those requiring a reliable, state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera.

The new FLIR E6 thermal camera with MSX technology. At only 575 grams, the new E series are an excellent investment for those requiring a reliable, state-of-the-art thermal imaging camera.


Our FLIR Ex-Series videos.

You can view more of our FLIR thermal Camera videos on our YouTube channel here. Or if you would like more information on our range of FLIR products you can visit our thermal camera website at

Alternatively you can visit or contact our Perth office here and one of our friendly technicians will be glad to help.

FLIR 2 for 1 Promo

FLIR Systems Australia have announced some very attractive special offers running through the month of September.

Thermal imaging cameras are increasingly being used by trades people from electricians and building inspectors to HVAC specialists and plumbers to help them do their job faster and better.

FLIR’s ‘2 for 1’ deal for September 2013 offers a free i-Series thermal imaging camera on every FLIR E50 or E60 camera.


  • Buy a FLIR E60 thermal imaging camera and get the FLIR i5 at no extra cost.
  • Buy a FLIR E50 thermal imaging camera and get the FLIR i3 at no extra cost.


FLIR E series Thermal Cameras

FLIR E series Thermal Cameras

FLIR I series Thermal Cameras

FLIR I series Thermal Cameras


For those who don’t need the top-of-the-range E-Series, there is a special deal on the FLIR E30 or E40 value pack that not only comes with many of the features of the E50 and E60 cameras, but also offers excellent value for money along with some very useful accessories at no extra cost including a spare battery, tool belt and pouch.

FLIR’s ‘2 for 1’ offer is only available for the month of September 2013.

FLIR’s prototype iPhone Thermal Camera attachment

Almost every one has a smart phone these days and among the most popular is the apple iPhone.

The iPhone is a sleek robust user friendly device that allows you to play games, surf the net, take photos and make the occasional phone call. Now it can do one more thing.

With the Help of FLIR you can now use your iPhone to take Infrared Images. The FLIR prototype iPhone attachment allows the user to look at the world around them in the infrared spectrum and take thermal images of practically anything they can point at.


FLIR iPhone Thermal Camera

FLIR iPhone Thermal Camera

At the heart of the unit sits FLIR’s new Quark core which is small enough at three quarters of an inch to enable the capture of images at .3 megapixels or 640 x 480 pixels. A 13 mm lens mounted on the back just above the iPhone’s own camera allows the user to capture detail from more 100 meters away. The unit also comes with it’s own battery supply so it won’t put an extra burden on the iPhone’s power.

Although this is a commercial prototype it has caught the eye of the military who want it implemented onto troop gear such as guns and helmets. But for this prototype to become commercially viable it will ultimately have to drop a few pounds. The image quality and resolution, and the thermal sensitivity will suffer here in order to make the devices cheap enough to build thus making them affordable for the target market.

FLIR’s iPhone Thermal Camera attachment will be available in the very near future.


Scantherma R&D 2 Images revealed.

If you have not guessed what the Thermal images from our last R&D blog entry were from here it is.


Hot water

Boiling water in bowl.

All the thermal images from our previous entry were of this ordinary bowl, or rather what was in it. Boiling hot water.

The patterns were formed in a few ways. The vortex images for instance were caused by moving a small spoon through the water in a horizontal pattern. The wake caused small curly shapes that could only be seen through a thermal camera. Other patterns were formed by mixing the water with the spoon, pouring cold water into the hot water and throwing in some Ice. Mixing a small amount of detergent into the water gave us the final image labelled Pumice in Lava. The images owe their colours to the different Thermal Palettes that were used when post-processing them. The thermal range was also limited in some images to accentuate the hottest or coldest areas in the image.