Infrared pigeon brains, and the art of sustainability

Reducing our Use.

Built in 1925, the historic two-story brick building that we call "The Harwood" presents an exciting (and some times confounding) opportunity to translate an inefficient structure in to a model for sustainable (re)building. We have decided to open up this translation process to others in the community, as we firmly believe that every moment is a teaching moment. And these are lessons that we all need to learn.

So, on Saturday October 25th, twenty-six engineers, architects, planners and sustainability students/professionals converged on the Harwood for an all day educational Energy Audit workshop. Their goal was to examine energy usage, including electrical, heating and cooling systems, and to identify cost saving and efficiency opportunities that will decrease our overall carbon footprint. Co-sponsored by the Harwood and Emerging Green Builders (a committee of the US Green Building Council, New Mexico Chapter) and with technical assistance provided by TestMarc Commissioning Systems and Sandia National Labs, the workshop was a fantastic success. Our partnership with these institutions provided us with access to incredible technology. If you've ever wanted to see a building engineer's equivalent of a CatSCAN, check out the cool infrared imagery below!

As a result of this process, the Harwood now has a prioritized list of building improvements intended to give us the best return on our investments. Together with our emerging Landscape Master Plan, these energy/efficiency recommendations will help guide future improvements to the property as we lean in to a more sustainable future. Also, the twenty-six participants in the Energy Audit workshop are that much more equipped to help Albuquerque embrace the sustainability goals of this 21st century. Thanks to all who participated and please stay tuned for future updates.

(Lunches were graciously provided by Whole Foods Market.)
(All infrared images by Robert Urias at Sandia National Labs.)

In the opening image, those really are pigeon brains illuminating their otherwise cooler bodies, while standing on a window ledge at the Harwood. Subsequent images include the front door of the building (notice heat loss through windows); a water pipe and valve; and hot water tank in the boiler room.

To learn more about the Harwood please visit our website: or come by and check us out in person: 1114 7th Street NW (at intersection of 7th and Mountain roads).

Views: 18

Comment by Paula Manning-Lewis on October 30, 2008 at 4:44pm
Very interesting! So glad to hear you all are working on making the Harwood a more energy efficient building. I remember how drafty it was when I had my studio there.
Comment by Carrie on October 31, 2008 at 7:05am
That was an awesome class! I have some photos I'll upload soon to add to this post.
Comment by Luann Wolfe on October 31, 2008 at 10:36am
Love the infared photos. This is a very cool post!
Comment by Kemper Barkhurst on November 5, 2008 at 6:39pm
Are there any consumer level infrared cameras for doing similar thermal inspections? I'm not talking about infrared goggles but something that can give you these temperature readings. I looked at the Flir devices but those are all very expensive.


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