Canadian professor envisions new cooling use for snow

The new invention could cut down air-conditioning use in the summer months

A Canadian engineer has come up with an ingenious idea to use compacted snow from city streets to keep buildings cool in the warmer summer months.

Rehan Sadiq, a professor of engineering at the University of British Columbia, has been working on the idea with fellow engineers from the UBC, including graduate student Venkatesh Kumar.

The professor had the epiphany when he was considering the vast amounts of electricity used by air-conditioning units during summertime.

The snow system is still in the very early stages of development. At present, the professor is showcasing his invention using a computer-modelled exercise, which shows how the system would operate.

The invention has been designed for larger buildings, including factories, educational establishments and apartment blocks.

The idea is this: snow will be collected during the wintertime and insulated ready for use during summer when air-conditioning units are generally in higher demand.

The collected snow will be dropped into snow dumps. A building’s cooling system will then pass air through the snow banks which will act as a natural cooler.

According to Professor Sadiq, the technology will be cheaper than conventional air-conditioning systems and will produce less greenhouse gas, as energy usage is reduced as the natural cooling quality of the snow means less electricity usage.

Rehan Sadiq commented: “Aside from making good use of waste material, this type of system could eventually help large organisations such as municipalities recoup some of the considerable costs associated with snow removal.”

However, considering the limited snowfall in the UK and how speedily it turns to slush, isn’t expecting this new Canadian innovation to make it across the pond anytime soon.

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