Friday, December 10, 2010

Charging the sidewalk!

9 Dec '10: Interesting article in Contractormag.com about Snow-Melting Sidewalks, and 'Hydronics' the conveyance of heat using water.
http://contractormag.com/columns/eatherton/cm_column_632/index.html
   There are a variety of suggestions for preventing roads, sidewalks and paths by using solar heat that has accumulated during the summer to warm the ground that you wish to defrost. This has to be done when the sidewalk is laid, and the ground can be charged with enough heat in summer to help it stay ice free through the winter - it all depends on how you get the heat down there.

Thinking more about this..... 
   Logically, solar panels could deliver heat much deeper down (3 m down) in the summer, and during winter, another loop would run between the deep zone and the zone under the pavement. Easily done with thermostats.
   You would not need to go down so deep if using some insulation. e.g. Summer deep pipes about 1.5m deep, a 200mm layer of polystyrene, then the Winter pipes in the half metre below the sidewalk. A small inspection chamber every so often would contain the manifold that switches from summer to winter mode. And nearby, attached to a building or pole, a small solar thermal collector.

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