Heating of sidewalks at Vancouver

Heating of sidewalks at Vancouver

I had to wait a couple of decades before experiencing this awesome thrill at the foot of the Whistler Blackcomb Mountains in British Columbia. This area has been very much in the news lately because it is going to be the main site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and Paralympics.

When I visited Whistler for the first time, I was struck by the area’s unspoiled beauty and felt that I could sit outside and stare forever.  I watched enviously as others clad in their Parkas guzzled their beer and their plates of food while chatting animatedly and staring at nature’s bounty.  We, my husband and I, were making our way indoors to one of the cafes when our waitress asked in surprise, “Don’t you want to sit outside?”

Feeling like a wimp, I mumbled that I wasn’t used to the cold.  “Oh! But it’s heated,” she exclaimed.

“Yeah,” We chorused in unison.  

After that, every evening of our stay was spent at a different sidewalk cafe which was heated by heaters from the awnings!  

This year the suburb of Richmond in Vancouver is trying an experiment near the Olympic Oval, which will be the site of the skating events in the Olympics.  This is the heating of sidewalks!

Geothermal pipes

Last year the municipality was given some left over geothermal pipes by a real estate developer.   The “City Engineers,” have decided to install the pipes under a Sidewalk (Pavement.)  This is a Pilot Project.

The Technology involved is “Green,” and the pipes are designed to keep the pavements clear of slippery ice and snow.  Anybody who has experienced a Canadian Winter will attest to the value of this experiment.

If this experiment is successful the city hopes to install such pipes in various roads and intersections to make them navigable under severe winter conditions. In the hill stations of India, where we have the blessing of unlimited sunshine, solar panels could be used to mimic this technology and facilitate cost-effective heating solutions.

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