Case closed: 99.9% of scientists agree climate crisis is caused by humans¹, according to research that strengthens the case for global action at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

We created it, and now must now take responsibility and review all we can do to stop wasting and start conserving energy. Individually reducing energy use is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to combat climate change and clean the air we breathe. It is time for all of us to start reducing the energy we use…right away. It’s time for People Power….

The EU for example, as part of the ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’ package, has set a target to cut energy consumption by at least 32.5% by 2030.² They understand energy not used is energy saved. And that smarter energy use also saves consumers money helping families meet their budgets, creates high-quality jobs, spurs investment in innovative technologies, boosts competitiveness in the global marketplace, and strengthens a countries energy security. Let’s get at it!

What to do.

There are several avenues to take. With the largest user of energy in most countries being Transportation, this is an obvious place to start.

Of course, switching to an electric vehicle would create an immediate reduction in your fossil fuel use. But if everyone ran out and purchased an electric vehicle, what would we do with the left-over mountains of gas-guzzling vehicles? And what will we do with all the used batteries? One problem to another. Practical and effective methods, are to drive your vehicle less, take public transport, do Zoom meetings, and make sure your vehicle is operating as efficiently as possible.

 Vehicle Maintenance.

A vehicle not properly maintained will emit more toxic fumes and CO2 emissions into the environment. When was your last tune-up? This is one of the best ways to increase fuel efficiency. For instance, simply removing cleaning and gapping the spark plugs assists in optimizing fuel usage.

Thermal inspections are performed on house fires, grass fires, or forest fires. For example, the image below is from a UAV equipped with an Infrared Camera. This “holdover fire” was found and reported to the Forest Service. If not extinguished, it could once again flare up and start another forest fire.

Brake Drag. This can deteriorate your brakes and increase fuel consumption. If the brake pads do not retract from the rotor there will be continual friction, called brake drag. Brake pistons and calipers have a nasty habit of rusting and binding, this drags down your fuel consumption increasing CO2 emissions.

How can you tell if your brakes are dragging without taking the vehicle to a shop? Easy! After a drive, take a thermal image of the disc through the opening in the rim. Compare the images and temperatures from the right and left sides. This can be a little confusing as the increased temperature can also be the result is a bad bearing (see below). Do not use a spot radiometer, it will not work as the spot size is too small, a thermal imager is required.

Brake drag must be dealt with immediately, both from an energy perspective, but also from safety. If the temperatures vary by more than 15%, you have a dragging brake or a wheel bearing problem, so take it in for repairs.

One issue for attaining the correct temperature is emissivity, it is exceptionally low. Therefore it must be adjusted to obtain an accurate temperature. How? Try using white-out, yes, you know the stuff we used to use when we make a mistake typing onto paper. (Is my age showing?) White-out has an emissivity of 0.96. It is water-soluble and will not damage the disc.

In the images below you will note the temperatures on the discs are quite different. The cause is the brake calipers are not fully retracting creating friction and an increase in temperature, deteriorating both the brake pads and calipers.

Wheel Bearings. Those of you performing IRT Inspections on mechanical equipment understand this already. If a bearing is in the failure mode there is a temperature increase caused by additional friction. This also makes the motor use more electrical energy to keep it operating at its proper speed.

Friction is a way of life for all bearings, including your car wheels. A worn-out wheel bearing prevents your wheel from turning freely, adding unnecessary friction that quickly increases in temperature. The increased temperature will cause problems for your wheels, suspension, and brake system. This as well translates into additional fuel use and CO2 emissions.

The thermal images of the front left and right wheels clearly show differences. 1a shows normal temperatures with 1b showing the overheated bearing.