Urban Waste Heat Plumes

Urban Heat Plumes in Calgary (Click for info)

Why It Matters


In Canada, buildings account for ≈ 35% of all emitted greenhouse gases (GHG), generate 10% of airborne particulate matter, 33% of Canada’s total energy production and 50% of Canada’s natural resources, of which the majority is used for space and water heating. Space heating provides one of the best opportunities for energy cost savings; however, the most cited obstacle to energy efficiency improvements is a lack of interest. This is little surprise when one considers what does energy efficiency really look like? Where is it located, and how do residents know that their home is energy efficient (not the energy saving devices inside)?


The HEAT pilot project is a freemium GeoWeb mapping service, designed to empower the urban energy efficiency movement by allowing residents to visualize the amount and location of waste heat leaving their homes and communities as easily as clicking on their house in Google Maps. HEAT incorporates geomatics solutions for community waste heat monitoring using Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis and Canadian built Thermal Airborne Broadband Imager (TABI) technology to provide users with timely, in-depth, easy to use, location-specific waste- heat information; as well as opportunities to save their money and reduce their GHG emissions. In collaboration with Partners, the (2010-2011) HEAT Phase I pilot project evaluated 368 residences in the Brentwood community of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with Phase II (2012-2013) scaling up to 33,000 homes, and Phase III (2013-2014) to the entire city of Calgary (300,000+ homes).

HEAT Capabilities:

This FREE GeoWeb service: (i) defines the 6+ hottest locations on each home, and (when complete) will link them to windows, doors, roofing, and/or insulation solutions from local certified service providers; (ii) automatically links each home to Google Street View to confirm hotspot locations; (iii) provides waste heat monitoring, GHG and space-heating estimates for different fuel types; (iv) identifies the hottest homes in each community, and city; and (v) defines house, community and city HEAT Scores™ for inter- and intra-city waste heat comparisons, providing opportunities to promote national and international waste heat competitions.

Potential Users:

(i) Home owners and renters, (ii) contractors identifying communities for marketing energy efficiency upgrades, (iii) service providers offering energy efficiency solutions, (iv) construction companies verifying their building quality, (v) real-estate agents seeking energy conscious clients, and (vi) monitoring over space and time may also provide support to governmental/municipal Energy Efficiency, Low Carbon Community and Ecological Footprint programs.


The HEAT GeoWeb service provides users with solutions to visualize the amount and location of waste heat leaving their homes. This service can be linked with geographically relevant online energy efficiency promotions, information, products and service providers, be regularly updated for monitoring purposes, and applied in every city, thereby providing residents significant opportunities to save their money and reduce their energy consumption and GHG emissions. Cost-recovery for ‘free’ public information will be sought from a combination of Green programs and participating municipalities and service providers.