Snow Melting

Snow Melting System

Snow melting with geothermal water has increased during the last two decades and now most new car parking areas in regions enjoying geothermal district heating are provided with snow melting systems. Geothermal water from space heating returns at about 35°C , and is commonly used for de-icing sidewalks and parking spaces. Geothermal energy has been utilised to a limited extent to heat pavements and melt snow during the winter. Most systems have the possibility of mixing the return water with incoming hot water (80°C) when the load is high. In downtown Reykjavik, a snow-melting system has been installed under the sidewalks and streets over an area of 50,000 m2. This system is designed for a heat output of 180 W per m2 surface area. Iceland's total area of snow melting systems was about 920,000 m2 in 2008, of which about 690,000 m2 are in Reykjavik. One third of the systems is in public areas, one third at commercial premises and one third by private homes. The annual energy consumption depends on the weather conditions, but the average is estimated to be 430 kWh/m2. The total geothermal energy used for snow melting is estimated to be 1,420 TJ per year. About two thirds of the energy is from return water from space heating systems.