During winter snow is cleared from the roads and put into massive piles to melt when warmer weather returns. This might seem simple enough, but it’s a big challenge dealing with the snow because of the sheer volume in colder climates like Canada. Researchers in British Columbia are proposing that the snow gets taken to special facilities that can benefit from all that snow – for cooling buildings during the summer.
It’s like a return of the once very profitable ice king.
Snow cooling technology is currently used several other countries, including Sweden, where a 60,000 cubic-metre pile of stored winter snow is used to cool the Sundsvall Hospital during the summer.
Hewage and his colleagues determined that in Canada, it would take about a playground’s worth of snow to cool a neighbourhood of 200 to 300 homes for the summer. In the winter, the snow could be compacted and used as a skating rink, he said.
With current energy prices, the system is more economically feasible in Ontario, where rates are high. B.C. has an abundant supply of cheap hydro power.
“But, of course, the environment has a price, too. So if you consider all of the aspects — environment, economic and also the social dimensions — I believe this is a good technology for Canada,” Hewage said.