You Might Like
On FacilitiesNet

Facility Maintenance Decisions

Sustainable Snow and Ice Strategies

Focusing on bond prevention, using deicer chemicals and implementing best practices can keep surfaces clear

By Brian K. Birch   Grounds Management

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Sustainable Deicer Strategies for Snow and Ice ManagementPt. 3: Snow and Ice Strategies: Assessing Needs and ResourcesPt. 4: Sustainable Deicer Use: A Sample Policy
Snow plow on parking lotCombatting snow and ice management often involves a combination of sustainable anti-icing pretreatment and smart equipment deployment.

The concept of sustainability is starting to rewrite the rules for keeping exterior surfaces around institutional and commercial facilities free of snow and ice. Once, grounds managers specified large amounts of deicer chemicals that crews spread on sidewalks, entryways and parking lots to keep them free of ice and snow.

In recent years, significant advances in research and methodology have established better ways to ensure the safety of building occupants and visitors while also considering the environmental and financial impacts of snow and ice management.

Managers who focus on bond prevention and anti-icing as a paradigm, who implement key initiatives and best practice guides, and who take advantage of insights into available deicer chemicals can go a long way toward making snow and ice management more sustainable.

Deicing chemicals that act as energy in the form of heat reverse the icing process. They break the crystalline structure of the ice into water by lowering its freezing point. The chemical itself does not melt the ice. To break down the crystalline structure and for the melting process to occur, the chemical must be able to dissolve in water, and sufficient energy — heat — must be present to drive this process.

Chemicals differ in their ability to facilitate this process, so the one to use depends on a number of factors. No one deicer solves all challenges or meets every service requirement. Managers need to take a broader view based on intended results to make smart decisions. The goal is to find the sweet spot between proper application rates and methods and the type of deicers needed to meet the service requirements for the various areas around a facility. This is first and foremost a policy decision.

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »

  posted on 9/16/2019   Article Use Policy

Related Topics: