Heritage, landscape, graphic documentation and agroforestry construction
Earthen construction and Thermography

Researcher: Ignacio Cañas Guerrero

Earthen Construction 

The group directs from AENOR the Earthen Construction Committee and it developed the first European non-experimental standard for earthen construction.

By standardizing we intend to raise the Earthen’s construction level to an engineered level, promotin Earthen Construction as a green technology and protect and restore Earthen built heritage and the landscape.
PADOC has a website dedicated solely to this research line:

We have developed many studies in this line, being experts in "internal conditions of wineries". The environmental conditions in the aging room must be adequate but the energy expenditure of the wineries is high. Therefore, it is necessary to enhance passive strategies in the cellars, characterize their shape and geometry (especially in ancient cellars), and optimize their integration with the environment. Some of the techniques used are 3D Laser  Scanervand infrared thermography for indoor climate control.



Thermography is a technique that takes advantage of the radiation emitted by the surface of a body as thermometric variable. Energy efficiency displayed through infrared imaging has quickly become a valuable tool to identify problems of energy loss, lack of insulation, inefficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The air tightness and thermal imaging tests are important measurements for quality control to build or improve a home. The heat loss in buildings is the cause of up to 50% of total energy consumption, and is due to air leakage through chimneys, attics, wall vents or windows and poorly sealed doors.

Faulty insulation, moisture, leaks in the building structure and shoddy work are very expensive for homeowners or businesses. An infrared camera could help to quickly identify where thermal efficiency could improve.

Using thermography we have analyzed: location of materials and hidden items, localization of different materials in the façade, presence of cracks, location of structures, location of humid spots and points of heat loss. The technique is used to inspect a large number of buildings in a short time.


  • Jiménez, M.C., Cañas, I., 2006. Earth building in Spain. Construction and Building Materials 20, 679-690.

  • Jiménez, M.C., Cañas, I., 2007. The selection of soils for unstabilised earth building: A normative review. Construction and Building Materials 21, 237-251. 

  • Cid, J., R. Mazarrón, F., Cañas, I., 2011. The earth building normative documents in the world. Informes de la Construcción 63, 159-169. 

  • Jaime Cid-Falceto, J., R. Mazarrón, F., Cañas, I., 2012. Assessment of compressed earth blocks made in Spain: International durability tests. Construction and Building Materials 37, 738-745. 


  • Cañas Guerrero, I., Martín Ocaña, S., González Requena, I., 2003.  Aplicabilidad de la termografía para la inspección de los edificios rurales: caso de una comarca española. Informes de la construcción 55, nº 488, 21-30. 
    Martín, S., Cañas, I., González, I., 2004. Thermographic survey of two rural buildings in Spain. Energy and Buildings 36, 515-523. 
    Martín, S., R. Mazarrón, F., Cañas, I., 2010. Study of Thermal Environment inside Rural Houses of Navapalos (Spain): The Advantages of Reuse Buildings of High Thermal Inertia. Construction and Building 24(05) 666-676.
    R. Mazarrón, F., Cid-Falceto, J., Cañas, I., 2012. An assessment of using ground thermal inertia as passive thermal technique in the wine industry around the world. Applied Thermal Engineering 33-34, 54-61. 
    R. Mazarrón, F., Cid-Falceto, J., Cañas-Guerrero, I., 2012. Ground thermal inertia for energy efficient building design: A case study on food industry. Energies 5, 227-242.
    Porras-Amores, C., R. Mazarrón, F., Cañas-Guerrero, I., 2013.  Using quantitative infrared thermography to determine indoor air temperature. Energy and Buildings 65, 292-298. 

  • Title: Characterization of Earthen Construction: essays and regulations.

         University: Polytechnic University of Madrid

  • Title: Durability of compressed earth blocks. Assessment and recommendations for the standardization of erosion and absorption tests.

         University: Polytechnic University of Madrid

  • Title: Measurement of thermal conductivity with the thermal needle method based on linear transient heat source, for use in walls made of adobe and compressed earth blocks

         University: Polytechnic University of Madrid

  • Title of the project: Development of materials for earthen rural construction: adobe, compressed Earth blocks, rammed earth and poured earth as eco-building systems

        Funding: Ministry of Education and Culture

     Participants: Polytechnic University of Madrid; Polytechnic University of Catalonia,   University of Valladolid; University of Castilla-La Mancha;

       Duration: 2006-2009

       Grant amount: € 66,700

  • Title of the project: Construtierra, Spanish scientific network of earth construction

         Funding: Ministry of Education and Culture

         Duration: 2006-2008

The  PADOC (heritage, landscape, graphic documentation and agroforestry construction)  research group was formally established as a Consolidated Research Group at the Polytechnic University of Madrid in 2005.
Teachers participating in it belong to two architecture schools and two schools of agriculture:
School of Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
The School of Architecture and Geodesy, University of Alcalá de Henares
College of Agricultural Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid.
Superior Technical School of Agricultural Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Madrid.



Some of the projects in which the group is currently working on are:

-Cocoa. New project: Study Cocoa agro-industrial waste. Funded by Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Within the “Proyectos-Semilla (PID)”. Project Manager Ignacio Cañas Guerrero. This project is in collaboration with Central University of Venezuela. Duration 2015. Other information in cocoa: http://www.grupoinvestigacionpadoc.com/investigacion/investigacion.php?iditem=62&lang=en

-Cocoa: Valuing cultural heritage of cocoa through tourism landscapes.

-Landscape integration of Greenhouses and wind farms.

-Integrating Agricultural buildings into the landscape: reuse.

-Underground Cellars, an energy-saving model through building systems. The study of hygrothermal conditions, ventilation and simulation models.

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