Snowmelt System Monitor

Since 1988, our town of Holland, Michigan, best known for its annual tulip festival, diverted waste heat from its power plant into pipes that run under streets and sidewalks in the central business district. For years we have enjoyed open, snow-free, access to our downtown, especially in hard, freezing winters with their lake-effect snow storms. We are currently building a new power plant, and have not only connected our snowmelt system to it, but have expanded the system even further, now covering near five miles of sidewalks and roadway. But how well is it working? We can see our sidewalks, but do not have quantitative surface data to show how well the snowmelt performs throughout the city. Are we supplying enough heat to melt the snow? Are we wasting energy by putting too much heat into the system? How should we run the system pumps? We need a device that can monitor performance in various locations over time, and help us make informed decisions as to how to run our snowmelt system. We need a Snowmelt monitor. This device can be placed on the sidewalk anywhere in the system to measure: Ground Temperature; Surface wetness. The device looks much as a traffic counter does - a small box chained to a nearby structure such as a lamp post or a tree. Data collected from the monitor is sent via AT&T to PubNub, where the data can be displayed, analyzed and sent into Snowmelt monitoring systems. With this data informed decisions can be made.”

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