Cooling buildings with snow is a no-go, according to a staff report to the city’s planning committee.

The city had been examining the possibility of using stored snow and ice in place of air conditioning in some of its buildings, but upon further examination, the idea has proved too expensive, even as a pilot project.

Theoretically, the snow would be collected during the winter and used to cool air for buildings during the summer, thus reducing the city’s energy bill and greenhouse gas emissions.

However, in order to realize strong return on investment, the selected building would have to be the highest electrical consumer, which is the 100 Constellation Cres. complex. Cooling that building requires an average of 500,000 kWh per year, and a cost of $50,000.

To reduce those costs by 93 per cent, the cold energy snow pile would have to stand over 12 metres high. An effective storage facility would cost up to $2 million. Since there is no space near 100 Constellation Cres. to build a storage facility, it would require a complex insulated piping system, which could add $150,000.

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