Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Independent of the number of students
  • 4-7 lecture units
  • English, German

Resource Description

Thermal Energy(Resource ID: 174)

The building block "Thermal Energy" deals with the specifics of heat energy and the possibilities to recognize, decrease and measure heat losses. Thermal insulation, the concept of breathing walls and thermography are also discussed.

This building block builds on the group of building blocks on energy. Students are expected know the basic terms concerning energy and the interrelations of environmental issues (see the introductory building block "The Energy Problem").

The building block "Thermal Energy" seeks to establish a basic understanding of heat energy and heat losses. It is important to understand that the form of energy 'heat' deals with comparatively large amounts of energy and that a decrease in heat losses is therefore very efficient. In fact, the main form of energy consumed by the two sectors, small consumers and industry, is thermal energy. Ways in which heat losses can be drastically reduced using simple methods is discussed in chapter "Thermal Insulation of Buildings". This building block also consists of an interactive part where students measure thermography and heat losses in order to analyze the thermal performance of buildings. Students should detect deficiencies and recognize possibilities for improvement.

Table of contents

  • Demand for thermal energy
  • Heat losses of buildings
  • Insulation, breathing walls
  • Thermal analytical methods - thermography
  • Thermal analytical methods - heat flow measurement


  1. Introductory presentation on thermal energy losses - presentation and notes are provided (time required: about 2 hours).
  2. Interactive information on how to use the thermography camera (time required: about 1 hour). 
  3. Interactive presentation on heat flow measurement (time required: about 0.5 hours)
  4. Optional: an evening excursion with a thermography camera can be organized (e.g. analysis of institute buildings).

Instructions for the presentation and experiments are provided in the form of notes corresponding the presentation slides. 

Intended effects on students

  • Understanding the development of heat losses
  • Decreasing heat losses increases efficiency
  • Insufficient insulation can easily be recognized and heat losses avoided.

Material, resources

The presentation, including comments and notes, is provided and can be used as a basis for lectures. Each lecturer may focus on different aspects, add information to the presentation or adapt the presentation to his/her specific needs.

For the interactive part, a thermography camera and a heat flow sensor are required.

Learning Outcomes
- Understanding heat transfer mechanisms and thermal parameters
- Calculation of heat losses and U-values of components
- Understanding thermal insulation measures
- Application of thermography and heat flow sensors
Relevance for Sustainability
Efficient insulation is a prerequisite for energetically sustainable buildings (low-energy houses, passive houses). Understanding the subject matter motivates and affects renovation decisions.
Related Teaching Resources
Preparation Efforts
Sources and Links

Recknagel, Sprenger, Hönmann: Taschenbuch für Heizung und Klimatechnik

J.P. Holman: Heat Transfer – SI Metric Edition

Tschegg, Heindl, Sigmund: Grundzüge der Bauphysik

G. Holzmann, Matthias Wangelin: Natürliche und pflanzliche Baustoffe, 2009

Webseite Testo / Praxiscenter  "Grundlagen der Thermographie" :

Medizinische Anwendung der Thermographie:

Funded by
Funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research within the framework of the call "Projekt MINT-Massenf├Ącher" (2011/12)

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Mag. Dr. Robert Weger


Robert Weger
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna
Firma Innovative Elektronik


Creative Commons

Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Written material
  • Measurement device
  • formteaching_experiment