Dundonian thermal imaging specialist heating up growth ambitions with support from The Data Lab

A Dundee-based thermal imaging company has secured backing helping it harness artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce heat loss in homes and support Scotland's net-zero strategy.

The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation centre for data and AI, is providing the funding to IRT, which says it identifies how housing developers and associations can make their property portfolios more energy-efficient through thermal imaging data capture and analysis.

The firm explains that it captures 300 to 500 properties a day, but currently relies on staff to manually process and prepare images for analysis – which includes removing unwanted elements such as windows and doors, where reflections could at present be confused for heat loss.

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IRT turned to The Data Lab and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen in a bid to secure funding and the skills to develop an AI solution. The software is currently in development by academics, and it is hoped that IRT will be rolling out the final offering by the end of 2022.

The latter is expected to make the pre-processing of images ten times faster, with benefits including IRT accelerating its capability in decarbonising the built environment.

IRT boss Stewart Little, who founded the firm in 2002 with brother Alan and investment from Grand Theft Auto author Dave Jones – said the new software will grow headcount at the firm, which says it has surveyed more than 350,000 homes and 2,000 commercial buildings including Buckingham Palace and The White House.

Brian Hills, recently confirmed chief executive of The Data Lab, deemed the project “a fantastic example of how important AI will be in directly addressing the challenges of delivering on Scotland’s world-leading climate change legislation”.

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