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snow melt btu and CF of nat gas formula??

CBRobCBRob Posts: 138Member
Is there a basic formula for figuring nat gas consumption using sq footage and inches of snow to melt?
for instance, a 10,000 sf concrete slab in Colorado with 300 inches of annual snow fall?

Comments

  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 12,348Member
    what size is the boiler, that might be easier,
    10,000 X 125 btu/ sq ft =1,250,000 BTU per hour.

    The efficiency of the boiler, and cost per therm would give you a cost per hour of operation.

    Tough to know how many hours a year it runs, snow fall, wind blowing snow, shade or sunny location, light dry snow, heavy wet, insulation below and on edges?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,427Member
    cost per unit of fuel type would be the other component in the equation.

  • ZmanZman Posts: 5,459Member
    Like hot rod said :)
    125 btu per ft is usually a good number unless customer exceptions are very high.
    Nat gas is billed by therm so you don't really need to get into the cubic foot part unless you are clocking the meter.
    Use this chart for high altitude because they dilute it a bit.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • CBRobCBRob Posts: 138Member
    I'm mostly just shooting for ball park numbers.
    My town has decided that they want to spend millions on solar panels and other projects to fight climate change, while being oblivious to the carbon foot print of melting snow on a 10000 sf parking lot at our new art center.
    We get about 250 inches of snow a year, and snow melt systems are typically just for trophy homes.
    This huge parking lot, and all sorts of walk ways could easily be plowed instead of melted. The one big 100x100 area doesnt even have a slope, so the snow has to evaporate rather than melt and run off.
    was just walking around it today, warm concrete just steaming away while my town manager is looking for bids on solar panels for the building.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,427Member

    I think an approach on the waste of energy using snowmelt, would have to include how much fossil fuel is used to remove the snow with machinery. Also the cost in Man hours, usually over time hours if it’s municipal property.
    Ice melt chemicals in which the use of degrades concrete, and gets tracked into the building where more labor is needed to clean up. In the end the bottom line is cost, and not so much environmental impact.

    Solar panels are going in on homes like no tomorrow in my area. Power company is calling it free. Gimmick.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 5,459Member
    I have a client with a 50,000 sq ft system in a similar climate. It is commercial with better than average controls.
    They pay $40k-$60k annually for nat gas and ~$6k for electric annually. In there case plowing and hauling would cost at least 3x as much. I have always been curious how the carbon footprint compares between melting and hauling.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,427Member
    edited January 19
    Another aspect is when plowing snow you need a good area to store it, or haul it off site. Seems the site in the pictures doesn’t lend itself well to that with 250” annual snowfall. Snow melt systems don’t have that issue.
  • CBRobCBRob Posts: 138Member
    interesting points you guys.

    For my town, the cost to haul is probably not much of a concern.

    its all about the carbon footprint at this point.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,427Member
    edited January 19
    Well you gotta figure fuel for mobilization of equipment port to port. Idle time to warm it up, then the removal etc.

    Then figure how much the carbon footprint is compared to the snowmelt operation.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 5,459Member
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • CBRobCBRob Posts: 138Member
    Gordy said:

    Well you gotta figure fuel for mobilization of equipment port to port. Idle time to warm it up, then the removal etc.

    Then figure how much the carbon footprint is compared to the snowmelt operation.

    In a ski town the equipment is going to be up and running with every storm, and moving snow around is SOP for the most part.

    This site would be able to just move it with a loader to the adjacent park. Just guessing, but it would seem the most effective and lowest carbon way to do it would be to use a loader and manpower to move the bulk of the snow, and fire up the snow melt only as needed to prevent ice build up.
    placing chemicals on the surface to melt ice would likely lead to spalling,,, and the need for more frequent replacement of concrete. Concrete has its own huge carbon footprint,

  • GroundUpGroundUp Posts: 726Member
    My new home is going to have snowmelt everywhere and I'd be glad to pay for it if NG were available. Even with LP, the dollars and sense add up to be less than the cost of paying someone to plow it. Sure, I could plow it myself but that $30k Bobcat isn't free to own or operate either.
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