Students in the School of Construction are using new technology to solve some age-old problems. Five thermal imaging cameras are the latest addition to the school’s impressive collection of top-grade equipment, which is helping students gain valuable experience before entering the job market.

Shannon Nicklaus, a professor in the School of Construction, said the thermal imaging cameras operate by registering heat within walls and ceilings in order to locate materials and airflow.

To be able to aim the camera at a wall and locate where a draft may be coming in (or where warm air or water is flowing through a pipe; or which outlets have electricity flowing to them) means fewer mistakes out in the field, Nicklaus said. Even mold inside structures can potentially be detected with the cameras, because mold registers at a different temperature.

“After a building has been built, we can see where we’re picking up or losing heat inside a structure,” Nicklaus explained. “These cameras can be used to make homes more energy efficient, but they also have commercial and industrial applications.”

“It’s pretty rare to have access to technology like this in a college setting,” Nicklaus said. “To be able to see how construction methods and materials are being used correctly or incorrectly can be a big benefit.”Cameras are used in several School of Construction courses including Mechanical Systems, Electrical Systems, Residential Construction, Safety, and the Testing and Inspection class. Nicklaus said some students and alumni are using the tools in their internships and new jobs. The cameras are a good example of the technology students need to learn before they try to find a job, he said.