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Electric Snow Melt vs. Hydronic Snow Melt

Bylin Electric Snowmelt Analysis
Public Walkway
Michigan
       

Location

Area

# Circuits

a/circuit

Design Load

1. Plaza

1700 ft2

3

36a

63a/line

Installed Cost Bylin   Hydronics
1. Equipment $17,000   $15,000
2. Labor $7,000   $11,000
3. Energy Feed, Labor, Engineering $3,000   $2,000
4. Hydronic Room Space $0   $10,000
TOTAL $27,000   $38,000
       
Operating Cost Bylin   Hydronics
1. Snowmelt Time (300 hrs) $1,224/yr   $703/yr
2. Idling Time (2300 hrs) $0   $2,698/yr
3. Maintenance $0   $800/yr
TOTAL $1,224/yr   $4,201/yr
         

 

Operating Cost Calculation
30w / ft2
 
x $0.08
 
1. Electric
x 1700 ft2
x 300hr

= $1224
 
1000w/kw
 
Kwh
 
 
 
 
102 Btu
x 1700 ft2 x 300 hr x $1.15 / therm
 
2. Hydronic Snowmelt

= $703
 
hr - ft2
.85 eff x 100,000 Btu / therm
 
 
 
102 Btu
 
x 1700 ft2 x 2300 hr x $1.15 / therm
 
3. Hydronic Idling
(50% Snowmelt Rate)

x 50%

= $2698
 
hr - ft2
 
.85 eff x 100,000 Btu / therm
 
 
 
 
Present Value – 5 yr payback before taxes, 30-year straight line depreciation, 40% tax rate (equivalent to 16% ROI)
       
  Bylin   Hydronics
1. Installed Cost $27,000   $38,000
2. Operating Cost $6,120   $21,005

 
 
Net Comparative Cost $33,120   $59,005
       

Other Considerations

1) Bylin Electric – no environmental emissions or glycol leakage considerations.

Hydronic -  “greenhouse” gas (CO, CO2, NitrousOxides, etc.), products of combustion emissions into local air basin

2) Design is for heating media to be located in sand below pavers.  Hydronic design requires 2” closer spacing as a result.

3) Hydronic Boiler “space” value @ $100/ft2 may be a low estimate.

 

 
Bylin Snowmelt Installation   Typical Hydronics Installation
   
 
Bylin Wall Mounted Control Panel    Partial View of Hydronic Mechanical Room

Bylin

Hydronic

1. Energy Source – Electric – no emissions 1. Energy Source – Natural Gas/Propane – CO, CO2, Nitrous Oxides (greenhouse gases) products of combustion
2. 100% Energy Efficient – operates only during snowfall hours 2. 20-30% Energy Efficient – wintertime idling plus snowfall hours
3. No moving parts to maintain 3. Continuous maintenance of equipment including glycol replacement, air bleed, balance valves, pumps, boiler, heat exchangers, room vents, etc.
4. Annual Fall Test – simply check circuit for continuity and power output (less than 10 minutes/circuit) 4. Annual Fall Test – test, repair and replace parts, pump seals, valve balance, glycol renewal, boiler parts, branch glycol flow rate checks, etc.
5. Equipment Space – Control Panel wall mounted typically next to main power panel 5. Equipment Space – a mechanical room is required.  Size ranges from 100ft2 up to 600ft2 based on system size.  Room space cost - $100-500ft2
6. Performance – standard design 28-30 w/ft2 (100Btu/ft2) with SMB/SMC heating cable on 12” spacing.  Melts up to 1.5”/hr snowfall. 6. Performance – standard design 100Btu/ft2 with PEX tubing on 12” spacing.  Melts up to 1.5”/hr snowfall.
7. Upset Condition – control system with ground fault safely shuts down system.  No contamination and no environmental issues 7. Upset Condition – leaking glycol to soil continues until someone notices leaks or is alert to loss of glycol in the system.  Environmental issue.
8. Repair Plan (if needed) – Bylin’s fault detection method locates fault within 1-2 feet.  Cable fault location is dug up and the parallel circuit SMB/SMC cable is repaired. 8. Repair Plan (if needed) – glycol leak requires first checking fittings outside pavement.  Second, the ‘in-pavement’ leak cannot be easily located. The EPA must be notified.
9. Installed Cost - $11-15/ft2 based on size and local conditions 9. Installed Cost - $15-22/ft2 based on size, mechanical room value and local conditions
10. Operating Cost – typically less than snow plow service.  Example: Chicago – 1000ft2, 270 snowmelt hours = $600/winter season. 10. Operating Cost – idling time 1770 hours, snowmelt 270 hours - $1750/winter season
Design Basics
  • 30w/ft2  (102Btu/hr-ft2)
  • SMB-48, 480v. 3ph., 540’-760’/circuit
  • Energy Costs – $0.08/kwh, $1.15/therm natural gas ($0.039/kwh equivalent)
  • Hydronic Boiler Space value – 100ft2 @ $100/ft2
  • Maintenance more for hydronic – listed as $ difference
  • Boiler efficiency/losses – 85%
  • Idling operation – 50% of snowmelt

Design/Build

  • Bylin engineering
  • Bylin cable/control panel
  • IPR install control panel out
  • Power to control panels by electrician
 
   

 

 

 

 
 
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