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Proactive/Reactive commercial management

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by KAM2009, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    Who incorporates proactive snow and ice management solutions with their reactive solutions?

    Proactive—infrared (retrofit), electric or hydronic radiant heat (automatic)
    Reactive—ice-melting agents, shoveling, plowing

    Thanks!
     
  2. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    My personel feeling is your definitions or understanding of them are a bit flawed.
    Contractors can be proactive without utilizing radiant/electric to heat the concrete/asphalt surfaces. We often will pretreat before an event with deicing product, account for residual product to melt off small/minor events, the list goes on with the ways to be proactive.
    The idea of heating the concrete & asphalt is still relativly new, inefficient, in most snow belt areas I believe. While I do believe there are benefits to not having ice melt products tracked into clients buildings (savings in janatorial, wear & tear, etc). I'm not sure the I could sell clients on the cost/benefit of installing a system.
     
  3. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    Thanks, RLM, for the response and perspective.

    Radiant tech is ancient, actually. I am interested in how you understand it as "inefficient."
     
  4. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    I dont believe radiant heat is ineffienct as a rule. Radiant technology in it self isn't inefficient lots of guys use it within their shop floor as a matter of fact because it is more effiecnt/cost effective to heat from the ground up, provides a warm surface to work on, etc. In utilizing it to heat asphalt or concrete sidewalks I believe it is generally not efficent because heat is lost into the atmosphere there is no way to contain it, however if there is a cheap source of warm water it becomes a different story. There is a city in Colorado that did utilize it in this fashion, I forget which one.
     
  5. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    Thanks again, RLM.

    In concrete applications—like sidewalks, parking garage ramps, loading docks—or asphalt situations, such as the area in front of hospital emergency room or around hangar doors, radiant heat only operates* from the actual start of a snow event (immediately!) until the surfaces are dry. No residue, debris or piles to navigate. That's about 3-10 hours for any typical event and done: that's efficient, I think ;)

    I realize that for snow removal for acres of parking lots, for example, what I suggest as "reactive" tech (I would say it's inefficient to start plowing a client's parking lot until the event has already passed, but pre-treating is a proactive action**) is cost effective and certainly part of an overall snow and ice management plan. And to be sure, infrared tech is probably the best "retro fit" radiant heating solution for many entryways and the surfaces leading to them.

    FWIW, it's been very difficult coming up with the economic impact of the snow and ice management industry—which includes both reactive and proactive technologies ;)

    *technically, there are systems incorporated with some facilities' steam heat, which is radiant heat, which operate 24/7...

    **what environmental considerations do you manage when you pretreat?
     
  6. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,987

    The reality is that it all comes down to dollars and cents.We're in the middle of a financial/economic meltdown. Companies are looking at every penny spent.I'm sure there's some exceptions,hard sell to be even allowed to pretreat many accounts.As far as enviromental concerns,no consideration in my area. Researched a hydronic under driveway system for my driveway and the energy requirements were insane. To bad we didn't have a source of cheap energy like Iceland!
     
  7. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    Thanks, leigh.

    Was hydronic the only radiant heat tech you looked at at the time, or did you check into electric as well? (Yeah, too bad we don't have volcanic, I mean geothermal, solutions to help us out)

    Also, were you considering a whole driveway solution or just tracks and maybe a 6' deep pad in front of the garage door? How long was the driveway? How long did you intend on living where it was installed (that is, what was the length of your expected ROI) versus your cost to have it done with, um, plows and/or shovels and/or deicing agents over the same length of time?
     
  8. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,987

    I'm in the Northeast and the highest elect rates in the country! I think with the size of my driveway (1000sqft) the roi is 100 yrs :) I was considering the install when I replace my asphalt with pavers. Figured I would at least install the pex tubing and be able to hookup to a nat gas boiler later if ever.My wife usually takes care of shoveling while I'm out plowing! She also cuts lawn and takes care of her extensive plantings!In 25 years I can count on one hand the times I've worked on the yard. It would be a luxury decision,not based on cost alone.
     
  9. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    As Leigh stated the economics (strictly pricing) seem to be the strict basis over everything else in the commercial snow in my market.
    We have struggled to bring liquids into the market however with margins shrinking, lack of willingness of clients to pay for better services, etc. I have been left with it being a SLOW process finding deals on used equipment as I can, craigslist, etc. because I truly believe in them, the better results, less environmental impact, etc.
    I understand completly the complexity/lack of caring in the environmental/economic impacts. Here is an example; I was one of the first contractors to utilize an Artic Sectional in my market. We utilized it on a school districts property, it wasn't in spec'd but it was on the machine we utilized in the area. The property went out for bid, on our sector we were undercut by literally $ 10 on 3 schools ($ 3.33/school). The district salted themselves. Their staff had even commented on how clean the Artic got everything. We realized a 30% or more reduction in salt usage when we began using this pusher on sites we salted. I pointed this out to the board of education that the savings in salt alone was greater than the bid difference, let alone less product applied means less available to be tracked into factities, leading to less wear & tear, janatorial savings, etc. we still lost the bid. in my market it has primarily become about price even if a property owner is comparing apples to oranges. They are looking at the number that comes after the dollar sign and basing their decisions on that.
     
  10. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    for states from Maryland to Maine
    snow and ice melting using electric radiant heating
    annual operating + investment (install labor and concrete sold separately) costs of a 1000 sq ft drive
    for five (5) snow events PER YEAR can be
    as low as $ 217.22 per season or
    as high as $ 571.87 per season

    Compare those numbers to a typical 4-month plowing contract for a 1000 sq ft drive in your area.

    Given the following inputs, anyone can do the general math, but I provide it below (and feel free to check mine :rolleyes: ):

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/
    — $0.10 to $0.1755 from MD to ME (2010 latest data, accessed today)
    — 1000 sq ft, which for the math in this example I configured to 50 x 20’

    If we choose retail availability from a noted vendor like MOR Electric Heating, http://tinyurl.com/m5sjp9k ,
    for a 50 x19.5’
    (closest mat coverage,
    two 15’ long mats and one 20’ long mat (50’ total)
    by six 36” wide mats and one 18” wide mat (19.5’ total),
    which may be more than is actually needed)
    operating at the optimal 50 watts/sq ft:

    975 sq ft x 50W/ft ÷ 1000 to convert = 48.75 kW required for operation

    So, operation cost per kWH for northeast US is between $4.875 and $8.56 for the driveway;
    per snow event, 3-10 hours of operation (melting snow and leaving a dry surface) using sensors and controllers can be
    as low as $14.63 and as high as $85.56;
    five (5) events a year, operating costs are
    as lows as $ 73.13/year and as high as $427.78/year

    The upfront costs (retail), per the MOR website (accessed today):

    Easy Heat mats, amortized over 4-month season and 20 years (many systems are older than this):
    lowest = [(2) $315 + (1) $375] x 6 + [(2) $210 + (1) $250]
    = $6700 total investment; x 4mo/12mo/20years
    Total LOW investment = $ 111.67/yr
    or highest = [(2) $410 + (1) 470] x 6 + [(2) $271 + (1) $ 310]
    Total HIGH investment = $8592; x 4mo/12mo/20years
    = $ 143.20/yr

    Environmental Technology Inc. sensors and controller
    SIT-6E Pavement Mounted Snow & Ice Sensor, $980
    CIT-1 Aerial Snow Sensor, $425
    ETI Snow Switch® Model GF Pro controller, $540
    Total investment =$ 1945; amortized as above (x 4mo/12mo/20years)
    = $ 32.42/yr
     
  11. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    I think it's a viable snow and ice management option that doesn't seem to get included in the usual snow and ice management conversation.
     
  12. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,987

    Thought the elec cost would have been much higher.Sounds like a larger more robust system similiar to what I've installed under a ceramic tile bathroom install.Might be a nice option to offer when I'm doing driveway/walkway installs.
     
  13. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    The electrical costs would have been higher how?
     
  14. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,987

    Electric costs for heating/appliances is much more costly than nat gas.Thought it would be similiar for electric for driveway melting.Figured it would be like running a pool heater,massive expenditure,then again,what do I know! My brother-in-law is a heating contractor, he installed a geotherm system with radiant floor heat with hydro/air summer cooling with a heat pump.Not cheap to run.Cool system though!
     
  15. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    Geotherm!

    And certainly, at the end of the day, if some neighborhood kids would come around and offer to shovel our 50x20' driveway (it's happened 3 times at my house over the 18 years I've lived there, and not really for the past 5 or 6 years), that's a win-win for the driveway owner and the budding entrepreneur.

    Then I see in the latest Snow Business magazine the "Legal hot buttons" which include the trend of the commercial snow manager's liability when customers 1) refuse treatment for a minor snow event yet 2) bring a claim against the SM company should someone slip and fall. Insurance for the insurance?
     
  16. KAM2009

    KAM2009 Junior Member
    from 46660
    Messages: 27

    Interesting numbers here:

    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/6/prweb10876216.htm

    However: I have yet to find numbers for the size of the entire snow and ice management industry. I have a nefariously attributable U$10 billion, but I doubt it includes FM-related activities for radiant heat (manufacturing, installation, operation outlays, etc.)