Beyond helping Albertan homeowners lower their bills, and helping homebuyers assess prospective houses, the platform offers positive benefits to cities as a whole.
In 2016, MyHEAT launched a publicly-accessible platform that allowed users to see areas of heat loss for over 640,000 single family homes in Albertan cities such as, Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and Lethbridge.
The technology used to create the platform’s award-winning HEAT Maps was developed at the University of Calgary. Using high-resolution aerial thermal images of a city’s rooftops, the HEAT Maps show areas of a building that are losing the most heat in red, and areas that are more energy efficient in blue. The resulting map allows residents, renters and homeowners to pinpoint the spots where energy escapes. Each home is also given a custom HEAT Rating, which homeowners can use to compare their heat loss against other similar homes in their neighbourhood or city.
Making Energy Visible Inspires Action
The free public platform was promoted through a broad range of social media campaigns that made Alberta residents aware of their energy savings potential and prompted them to explore their homesâ€™ heat loss. The platform’s widespread visibility on social media allowed for some innocuous social competition between friends, family and neighbours.
The HEAT Maps provided a valuable starting point for homeowners to understand energy escaping their home – something they previously couldn’t see. The data provided valuable insights into which areas of the home to focus on to reduce energy consumption, seal cold drafts, and ultimately save money by reducing energy utility bills.
Housing Market Benefits from HEAT Maps
For many other users, the platform was a key tool for hunting for a new home. With housing markets in Canada heating up, unconditional offers – even without the completion of a home inspection – have become increasingly common.
HEAT Maps let homebuyers see areas of improvement upfront, as well as local rebates, incentives and programs available to them. Homebuyers can budget for energy efficiency repairs when securing their mortgages, potentially reducing financial hardship and accelerating the pace at which energy improvements are made. One user of the public platform reached out to MyHEAT to share how his home’s HEAT Map allowed him to budget for energy efficiency upgrades ahead of his purchase:
“The MyHEAT platform was a great tool we used when shopping for a new home. Energy efficiency is important to my family and this unique platform lets us see the heat loss of houses we were interested in. We ended up buying a place that was a bit leaky, but by using MyHEAT we could plan and budget for air sealing and insulation before buying.” – Pat, Calgary
The demand for the MyHEAT imagery was so great from homebuyers that many users contacted MyHEAT upon discovering the HEAT Maps had been taken down following the expiration of the contract for the public platform:
“I’m a home buyer who was using your useful heat maps during my search for a home, as it is a useful metric to determine build quality or potential issues to look for during an inspection. I’ve noticed though that the Calgary map is no longer available, and coincidentally just as I finally found a home that I have an offer in for. Is there a way to access the data for Calgary? Or even for a particular home or street if possible?” – Peter, Calgary
“Grande Prairie, Alberta was once listed on this site, but now it is gone. I am in the middle of moving and want to check the rating of the house I am going to. Mainly to see if I should top up the Attic right away or look for any problem areas.” – Davin, Grande Prairie
Reducing Energy Consumption Protects Alberta and the Planet
Beyond helping Albertan homeowners lower their bills, and helping homebuyers assess prospective houses, the platform offers positive benefits to cities as a whole. Existing residential buildings consume approximately 40% of the world’s energy1, and inspiring retrofit action to reduce energy loss in homes both benefits the planet and reduces strain on a utility’s infrastructure.
While there are still three Albertan cities on our publicly accessible heat loss maps for demo purposes, the original contract for this public platform has come to a close. However, there is an opportunity for a new organization to partner with MyHEAT to deliver the next iteration and promote their energy efficiency programs to Albertans.
Think your organization would be a good fit?
We’d love to hear from you.
1Ruparathna, R., et al. (2016). Improving the energy efficiency of the existing building stock: A critical review of commercial and institutional buildings. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 1032-1045. Retrieved from: doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2015.09.084
Gillian Ward, Business Development Analyst