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-   -   Downtown Heated Sidewalks (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=209075)

Dmajackson Jan 5, 2014 6:00 AM

Downtown Heated Sidewalks
 
A post I made in the Nova Centre thread about expanding the Downtown Halifax Link made me think of this idea. :)

Heated sidewalks while rare in Canada are used in some American communities as a way to remove snow, slush, and ice from Downtown sidewalks and streets. These systems use pipes to move heated water under sidewalks and road. In one of the more well-known systems (Holland, Michigan) this allows ~4 cm to be melted per hour in -9C weather. There are some problems with the system relating to drainage on flat sidewalks, and the environmental impact but there are plans to have some installed in Saskatoon and Edmonton.

In Halifax I believe that heated sidewalks could be a reality in some key areas Downtown. The system requires either a heat source (ie a power plant) or warm grey-water from adjacent buildings. In my vision for the first heated area a heat pump would be built in the basement of a municipal building (say Central Library or Old Library). This system would collect grey-water from the building and adjacent buildings and store them in a cistern during winter months to be used as required. After the water is pumped through the system it would flow into the municipal sewer. As for where this system could go it would depend on where grey water and a heat pump can be located so for these reasons I have only considered municipal buildings.

SYSTEM 1) Spring Garden Road - A heat pump and cistern under the Old Library. The first phase would heat the park paths out front, Grafton & Brunswick (south of Blowers) and the north half of Spring Garden Road to Queen Street. If more water can be added to the system Doyle Street and expansions along Spring Garden and Grafton could be installed.

SYSTEM 2) Central Downtown - A heat pump and cistern under City Hall. A pipe would pump this water under Duke Street to Granville. Phase 1 would be installed under Granville Mall as part of a revitalisation/streetscape project. Further expansions would see the system extend south along with future Granville Street projects.

If salt water could be used then the Ferry Terminal could also be the base for a waterfront version.

ns_kid Jan 5, 2014 11:56 AM

As is so often the case, this is not a new concept. In fact, Halifax had some electrically-heated sidewalks in the 1960s. One stretch of heated sidewalk was in front of the Capitol Theatre building, on Barrington at the foot of Spring Garden, where Maritime Centre now stands. Not coincidentally, the building also housed the head office of Nova Scotia Light and Power. NSLP's 1964 annual report says, "A number of these installations are doing an excellent job of keeping sidewalks free of snow and ice. They go to work at the flick of a switch and their operating cost is moderate."

Unfortunately, the report does not identify other locations. Perhaps older readers will recall more examples. The report does not specify the technology used but I expect it was embedded electric cable.

I'm not sure how long the Barrington Street sidewalk was in service. It certainly did not survive the demolition of the Capitol Theatre in 1974, but may have ended with the departure of NSLP for Duke Tower in 1969.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7328/1...6947625f2c.jpg

Source: Nova Scotia Light and Power Company Limited 1964 Annual Report

Drybrain Jan 5, 2014 6:51 PM

This CBC doc (the gist of which is that Canadians, despite being northerners, are wimps about winter) has a segment about Scandinavian sidewalk culture and their heated sidewalks. It's at about 29:40.

someone123 Jan 5, 2014 8:54 PM

I had no idea that heated sidewalks had already been tried out in Halifax. It seems like drainage issues wouldn't be that bad since the downtown is hilly and already gets tons of rain.

The Canadian winter culture stuff is interesting. There probably has been a change, but I also think some of the confusion stems from the fact that this is a big country with a lot of different climates. I have always thought of a place like Quebec City as having a "real" winter climate, while Victoria for example doesn't at all. Halifax is somewhere in the middle because it gets a lot of above-freezing temperatures and rain in the winter. Places like BC and NS also don't figure into "Canadian" culture very directly, which for better or worse tends to be pretty much based on Ontario and Quebec.

Keith P. Jan 5, 2014 9:52 PM

I am old enough to remember that, although that is the first picture of either the sidewalk of the predecessor building to Maritime Center I have ever seen. I believe it was heated using electrical elements buried in or under the concrete. I remember being it a bit of a curiosity piece at the time.

Waye Mason Jan 6, 2014 12:08 PM

I wonder about the cost... in that time gas was cents a litre, now it is 1.42. Energy prices are much higher. David Hendsbee wants to do the district heating plant and use the heat to keep sidewalks clear, but I am not sure the cost/benefit ratio is there. How much is the capital cost, then how much is the cost to run it, vs just paying to plow? I think it would be cheaper to just increase the snow removal budget, but that is just a my gut, no figures at all.

ILoveHalifax Jan 6, 2014 12:25 PM

How about solar to heat the sidewalks?

beyeas Jan 6, 2014 12:28 PM

The times that I have seen this work had more to do with what would otherwise have been truly industrial "waste" hot water, rather than water heated for this purpose.
Best example I have seen is when I visited Golden Colorado, where Coors was originally just dumping the hot waste water from their plant (I'll beat you to the punch and point out that Coors light is also known as warm waste water) and using it to warm both the streets and the sidewalks. In their case I am sure it is helped along by the fact that I think the National Renewable Energy Lab is located in Golden.

Waye Mason Jan 6, 2014 2:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by beyeas (Post 6395275)
The times that I have seen this work had more to do with what would otherwise have been truly industrial "waste" hot water, rather than water heated for this purpose.
Best example I have seen is when I visited Golden Colorado, where Coors was originally just dumping the hot waste water from their plant (I'll beat you to the punch and point out that Coors light is also known as warm waste water) and using it to warm both the streets and the sidewalks. In their case I am sure it is helped along by the fact that I think the National Renewable Energy Lab is located in Golden.

Some ESET instructors at NSCC told me that the boilers at Tufts Cove sink enough heat into the Narrows to heat 30,000 homes. It would be more attractive to me to figure out the engineering to drive the heat over to Halifax from an existing site, though not sure you can move it several miles efficiently.

eastcoastal Jan 6, 2014 4:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drybrain (Post 6394388)
This CBC doc (the gist of which is that Canadians, despite being northerners, are wimps about winter) has a segment about Scandinavian sidewalk culture and their heated sidewalks. It's at about 29:40.

I love this documentary... I've seen it before, and often wonder at our defeatist attitude about using the outdoors in winter.

beyeas Jan 6, 2014 6:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eastcoastal (Post 6395502)
I love this documentary... I've seen it before, and often wonder at our defeatist attitude about using the outdoors in winter.

I have always loved sitting on the patio of pubs/cafes in places like Stockholm and Helsinki during the early/late winter, where they just have a pile of blankets sitting there and you sit outside and have your drink with a blanket wrapped around you. It is awesome, and to them that is nothing big and everyone does it. Canada likes to think it is tough about winter, but we are pansies compared to people from nordic countries!

JET Jan 6, 2014 7:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ILoveHalifax (Post 6395273)
How about solar to heat the sidewalks?

maybe solar, or geothermal?

OldDartmouthMark Jan 8, 2014 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JET (Post 6395737)
maybe solar, or geothermal?

The only way I see it working is to use existing or waste heat. In these days of energy awareness I can't see burning fuel to heat the sidewalks being a good choice from a practical or political standpoint. Kinda reminds me of my dad asking me why I wanted him to pay to heat the outdoors if I left the door open when I was a kid. ;)

Also, I have to wonder what happens if the runoff is not managed well - seems like you would be trading one ice problem for another once the water runs off the heated section onto an unheated section.


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