Energy firm Eon and Nationwide Drones have jointly launched drone and laser scanner-led home ‘health assessments’ – which they claim can gauge solar, heat pump and insulation suitability in under an hour – and outlined ambitions to harness drone tech across ‘all survey requirements’.

Using body-worn mobile laser scanners and thermal analysis, Eon’s drone pilot home assessors have begun surveying walls, floors and ceilings, with findings used alongside aerial 4k resolution photos and combined high-resolution shots of a property’s roof and surrounding area to measure a home’s capacity for flexible assets.

Photos and data are then studied by experts at Eon using an in-house app to recommend the most beneficial energy efficiency solutions for the customer’s home, including solar panels, air source heat pumps and insulation.

The data is then stored – like an energy passport, according to Eon – thereby removing the need for subsequent visits to the same property for further improvement work.

“This is in effect a home and energy health assessment,” Michael Lewis, CEO of Eon UK, said. “Done by drone in under an hour and giving an inside-out image of all the areas where we can improve energy efficiency and make homes more comfortable for customers, as well as helping to reduce bills and carbon emissions.”

“Something like 19 million homes across the country are in urgent need of improvement but we know homeowners can often be left confused by the range of energy saving options,” he added. “Our eye in the sky drone technology gives an accurate and speedy assessment of the most suitable and sustainable technologies.”

Rollout across ‘all survey requirements’

Discussing the partnership further, Lewis Davies, energy expert manager at Eon, explained that by introducing drone powered in-home surveys, the firm has been able to speed up the time it takes to complete technical assessments, ensuring that operatives are in customers’ homes for less time.

“The drones enable us to survey the property in a much more accurate way than measuring manually with human and laser measure or tape, which means more accurate and real time data for correct specification of solutions,” he told Utility Week Innovate.

“The accuracy of the data means data captured for use in future on other energy saving measures, without the need to revisit the property if and when further improvement work is required.

“The drone technology can even provide accurate data for correct specification of heat pumps, the right number and type of solar panels and accurate measurements of wall areas that require insulating,” he added.

While Eon is currently only deploying drone technology for home surveys, Davies adds that plans are in motion to expand its work with Nationwide Drones across “all survey requirements”.

Tackling homeowner confusion

Davies explained that Eon’s drone-led home and energy health assessments can offer a solution for the millions of homes across the country in urgent need of improvement and offer clarity to customers confused by the ever-increasing range of energy saving options amid the drive to decarbonise.

“The drone technology enables us to get a more accurate and speedy assessment of the most suitable and sustainable technologies for homes across the country and by using this approach we are able to improve energy efficiency and make homes more comfortable for customers, as well as helping to reduce bills and carbon emissions,” he said.

“This innovation also provides a scalable, accurate and future-proof whole house surveying solution that can be developed over time to ensure we can continue to gain the most accurate assessments of homes to be able to offer the most appropriate solutions.”

“It’s important that we continue to develop and use new technology to improve the way we assess and offer energy efficiency solutions to our customers.”