Chill ways to recycle last year's snow Let it snow! Many cities are looking at ways to save snow for the hot summer months. (Oregon Department of Transportation via Flickr/AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Chill ways to recycle last year's snow
Lexile

In most places, the snowfall blanketing city streets during the winter is seen as a bother. In fact, heavy snowfall is often considered as an important test. Blizzards can make or break many politicians' careers. Some places, however, are bucking the trend. They are treating snowfall as a resource. They are not looking at it as a burden. This is according to Marlene Cimons. She reports for Popular Science.
 
It might seem almost like waste to keep giant snowdrifts around. But the hottest times of year are just when a big pile of snow might seem like a relief. With global temperatures continuing to rise, several countries have begun to experiment. They are looking at ways of saving their winter snow. They want to put it to use when they need it most.
 
"Snow is not a waste, but a resource," Kasun Hewage told Cimons. Hewage is associate professor of engineering at the University of British Columbia. "With temperatures rising in many areas, and with them, air conditioning bills, we as societies are increasingly looking at resources and materials differently."
 
Hewage's recent study was published in the journal Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy. It found that pumping air through a room cooled by snow could reduce the need for traditional air conditioning. Facilities in several countries, including Japan and Sweden, have already implemented ways to make use of heavy snowfall. They keep it in specially designed, insulated rooms. They can cool air conditioning systems. Or even keep food cold, Cimons reports.
 
Cooling down office buildings isn't the only thing saving snow can do: it can also be a lifesaver for businesses that rely on regular snowfall, like ski resorts. As winters get warmer heavy snows will become uncommon. Many resorts have turned to making their own snow to blanket their slopes. But by figuring out ways to keep as much of that snow preserved through warmer months as possible, these places not only make sure they will open on time, but they also can save money and reduce how much fuel they use each winter to keep their slopes fresh, John Hopewell reports for The Washington Post.
 
In that case, keeping snow around can be pretty simple. Just pile it into mounds. Then the snow is covered with special tarps. They hold in the cold. But snow-cooled systems likely won't be replacing air conditioners any time soon. It's also likely that the method would only be feasible in parts of the world. Like where they get a certain amount of snow each year. Currently, Hewage and his colleagues see it more as a potential option for cities and towns. They might recoup some of the expenses for removing snow by putting it to work to reduce high electricity bills, Cimons writes.
 
"It is a proven technology ... (but) the economic feasibility of this is climate-dependent," Hewage tells Cimons.
 
As the world gets warmer, the climates that could take advantage of this type of air conditioning could become increasingly rare.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why must snow be covered with special tarps to keep it cold?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (26)
  • sylviemb-buh
    12/10/2016 - 09:40 a.m.

    I think this is a cool way to save energy. But I also think that the snow might melt, and so we would have to use even more energy to keep it cold.

  • abigailo-kul
    12/12/2016 - 12:36 p.m.

    I think this is a great idea. Snow would be great in the summer because it is so hot and you’re miserable in the summer. Like they said in the article it would save money for people with air conditioning for the summer months. I love snow if I had a special tarp to save snow for the summer I would defiantly do it.

    • charmaynes-kul
      12/12/2016 - 03:32 p.m.

      I agree that in the summer snow would be fun to have around especially on those humid hot days. Instead of going inside to get a freeze you can go outside, and jump in snow and cool off.

    • codyp-kul
      12/14/2016 - 10:52 a.m.

      I agree that is a good idea to save money and energy but I don't think i would buy a special tarp just to save snow for summer. Summer is meant for hot and sunny not cold and snowy.

  • charmaynes-kul
    12/12/2016 - 03:28 p.m.

    It would be cool to be able to save snow, and use it later for ski resorts. The ski resorts would be able to stay open longer, and you would be able to go out skiing in the warmer months. It also would cost less money to keep it cool in your house in the summer months. Most people in the winter don't like the snow, and the cold but when it is cooling you down in the summer time it is a relief after a hot day.

    • abigailo-kul
      12/16/2016 - 12:28 p.m.

      I agree, I love skiing! I would be so much fun to ski in the winter. The ski slopes would get a lot of more money in the summer for skiing. I also agree that it would cool you off in the summer a lot.

  • jamariw-orv
    12/12/2016 - 07:36 p.m.

    I like the snow but I don't like what I have to go with it which is shuffle and salt

  • jacklynt-ste
    12/13/2016 - 04:05 p.m.

    I am down for recycling and all but recycling snow just seems like a little much to me. I think messing with nature is just not a good thing to do. Having the snow melt and be evaporated is all part of the water cycle how will this affect that?

  • corah1-jen
    12/14/2016 - 10:41 a.m.

    burrrrrrrr. snowI am hungry. got pie?

  • alexias1-jen
    12/14/2016 - 10:44 a.m.

    I know because if they didn't cover the snow with the tarp it would probably just melt.


    Also I wonder if the tarp helps it stay in balls of snow.


    Do you think that the tarp holds up the snow into a ball.

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