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These thermal images show London like you've never seen it before

London thermal images
(Image credit: Paul Buckingham / Bloomberg Green)

Recently published thermal images of London give us a look at the United Kingdom's capital that we've never seen before – and also underline the challenges faced by the city when it comes to energy efficiency. 

Using the best thermal imaging cameras doesn't just provide a colorful look at the world (reminiscent of the way the titular alien sees things in the Predator movies), it also enables engineers and researchers to see the amount of heat pollution generated by different industries and fields of endeavor.

Electrical engineer Paul Buckingham was recently tasked by Bloomberg Green to provide a "thermal tour" of London to illustrate just how the city is succeeding and failing to contain excess heat.

“I’ve become an investigator more than anything else,” said Buckingham, who has been taking thermal images for over a decade to convince individuals and businesses to improve their energy efficiency. “What I’m finding is upsetting everyone in the construction industry.”

(Image credit: Paul Buckingham / Bloomberg Green)

His images – which indicate maximum, minimum and average temperatures – are very illuminating. They illustrate that at Euston Station, for example, the train and platform are the same temperature – which is almost double the temperature outdoors, proving that the London Underground system is a significant source of heat pollution.

Conversely, Ashmount Primary School was the most energy efficient structure photographed on Buckingham's tour, which "appears almost perfectly insulated". Another shot shows an electric Tesla car driving past Harrods with a temperature of just 46-53°F / 8-12°C, compared to the petrol vehicles that run as hot as 75° / 24°C.

We highly recommend checkout out the Bloomberg Green article, not just for the interesting photography but also for a fascinating insight into heat inefficiency in one of the world's favorite cities – not to mention a look at how iconic buildings like Harrods, the Victoria & Albert Museum and The Crystal each handle the issue.

Read more: 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-PhotoDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show. An Olympus (Micro Four Thirds) and Canon (full frame) shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a particular fondness for vintage lenses and film cameras.