Jamilah's Space

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PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately, we were not able to get the "After" results for this experiment due to a change in business location. We would like to pursue this further at a different location if someone is thinking of using this type of product and would be interested in having us collaborate to take some before and after data to analyze impact. Please contact the Labs if you are interested.

Laurie Jamilah 1.JPG


  • Small business operates January-April providing tax services
  • Jamilah Humphrey, owner, rents space in a building in Detroit on Fenkell near Southfield Freeway.
  • Jamilah has reported that the indoor space temperatures are uneven and uncomfortably cold near the East wall of the building. She would like to improve the thermal performance of the wall by applying paint mixed with an insulating (ceramic) additive. She was given a package of Insuladd by a friend involved in the building trade and plans to paint the wall with that. Laurie Catey, a professional engineer and commissioning authority, and Kirsten Lyons of the Green Garage are assisting Jamilah with her experiment.
  • Also known as: Sustainability Labs Experiment #1

Building Info

1100 sq. ft. space:

  • 3 outside walls (South, East, West)
  • Masonry (brick and block) walls w/interior drywalled stud walls
  • Built-up flat roof
  • 9'-6" suspended ceiling
  • Gas forced-air furnace heat from rooftop unit
  • Large plastic single pane inoperable windows on South and East sides
  • Large air leaks observed in ceiling tiles, receptacles, and around doors and windows

Site visit March 25, 2011

  • Laurie Catey and Kirsten Lyons measured and recorded with Jamilah Humphrey providing background and statement of problem
  • Outdoor temp. 32F (weather.com)
  • Indoor temp. 67.8F (back), 19% R.H. (Laurie Catey metered)
  • Front space temp. 67.5F, R.H. 18% (metered)
  • Storage room temp. (far back) 47-48F
  • Thermostat read 71F
  • Long east wall surface in back room measured 61-64F
  • Recorded "before" conditions using Flir thermal imaging camera
  • "Before Conditions" Thermal Inspection Report - 3/25/2011

Green Garage Labs Experiment #0001 - Thermal Paint Additive

Sustainability Goals

  • Potentially an easy, low cost way to add thermal resistance to existing walls - Measure before and after wall painted to see magnitude of impact in application in Detroit to benchmark real results.
  • Collect any lessons learned that might help others who may want to use the product.
  • Document in format open to all.

Experiment Design and Strategies

  • Thermal image wall to be painted on cold day prior to painting.
  • Thermal image same wall on similar cold day after painting.
  • Use measurements to estimate energy savings achieved (snapshot for conditions on day measured).
  • Depending on results, may annualize findings (Linear regression/Bin data or energy modeling?).
  • Document on GG Labs Wiki.

Supporting Science

  • Insuladd Manufacturer's Testing
  • Heat transfer measurement in actual operation; simulation to predict/estimate annual savings
  • Riley Tax/Landlord may compare future energy bills to previous years (normalized for weather, occupancy, hours of operation)


  • Collaborate with Urban Sustainable Library to document our findings to the collective.

Related Materials / Suppliers

Related Internal Links

  • None at this time


To Do's

  • After notified wall has been painted, take "after" thermal images on day with similar outside air conditions (approx. 32F and sunny).
  • Compare results to manufacturer's information.
  • Document and close out experiment.