Category : Case Studies & Projects

MBS International Airport ZMesh Roof Ice Melt System

Roof Ice Melt & Drain De-icing System at the new MBS International Airport Terminal

FREELAND, MICHIGAN October 2012- Heatizon Systems has a unique presence at the new MBS International Airport Terminal, in the Great Lakes Bay Region, in providing an extensive roof deicing system for the unique and flowing roof ridge and drain design. 

This new terminal touts sustainablity through energy-saving design elements with local materials and supplies being used whenever possible to practice LEED standards.  The designers and developers did not pursue overall LEED certification in order to minimize the 25% increase in overall cost to do so.   Approval for design of the new Terminal from Reynolds, Smith and Hills Inc (RS&H), an aviation and architectural firm came in 2008 with preliminary funding already secured under the FAA Airport Improvement Program and the Airport itself.

The main design agenda was to meet needs of passengers, carriers and tenants for the long term with an easy to maintain, efficient to operate and easily adaptable use for future and the present needs. At $50 Million, and six years in the making from preliminary plans to completion, the new Terminal will now open ahead of schedule by the end of October 2012, and will replace the existing terminal built in 1965.

Heatizons low voltage ZMesh roof ice melt was incorporated on the sloping roofs to allow for efficient drain paths, to manage snow loads and snow accumulation on the flowing slopes of this unique roof design.  26 CBX23 Control Units were used with S203 transformers powering our low voltage ZMesh bronze screen heating element.  ZMesh was concealed under the membrane roofing material incorporating an efficient design to melt snow while allowing the water to efficiently drain into the drainage system of at the bottom of the slopes, preventing any ice build up around these crucial points.

This system was supported by Warmquest (Heatizon Authorized Distributor). Features of the system include an activation scheme that is controlled by a sophisticated system of temperature moisture sensors which activate when the temperature falls below the set point while moisture is present. Monitoring of each zones is achieved with Heatizons M329 Selector Boxes controlling up to 12 zones each.  Manual override capabilities also ensure that ice and snow never build up around the roof drains that route through the heated part of the building. 

Over 5000′ of 9″ wide ZMesh heating element was installed, per the system design, and control units were strategically placed throughout the buidling with a central convenient location for controls and monitoring.

Heatizon products were chosen for this project because they promote longevity, performance, and added control features.  ZMesh has a 25 year warranty, with a performance record expected years beyond that, having systems operating flawlessly since 1979. These features made ZMesh an attractive solution to solve the weather implications a large commercial design such as this Airport would face in Michigan.

The MBS International Airport structure is now insured for safety, longevity and efficient operation by incorporating our unique roof ice melt products.

Heatizon provides unmatched experience and design support for small and large projects with all of our products including, interior floor heating & space heating, snow melting, roof deicing and heat tracing for all residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

Pine Glades Road Snow Melt & Cabin Radiant Heat

Pine Glades Development – Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The Pine Glades Development in Jackson Hole, Wyoming offers breathtaking scenery and a unique Jackson Hole experience.  This development, 7 blocks from the town square, features a western and contemporary influence that follows LEED certification guidlines in each Condo/Cabin structure, resulting in high energy efficiency and high standard of sustainablilty.  You can find Heatizon products throughout this development, from interior space and floor heating for the Cabin residences to an extensive snow melting system for the tunnel entrance and road and sidewalks leading up the hill to the Cabin developement.  With heated sidewalks and roadways, snow fall always means fun for Pine Glades residents.

Road, Tunnel, & Sidewalk Snow Melting System

Over 100 Heatizon CBX7 Control Units and Transformers are powering the extensive low voltage Tuff Cable Snow Melting system.  Controls are stored in easily accessible vaults placed in two convenient and hidden locations within the complex underground or against the side of the mountain. Using this snow melting system eliminates plowing and the use of chemicals providing longevity to the asphalt and concrete surfaces, safety and convenience to its residents.

The road and sidewalk ice and snow melting system was designed as a preferential  zoned system designed and installed by Heatizon Distributor Homestead Furniture of Cottage Grove, Oregon.  When the system activates with its quad sensing pavement mounted temperature moisture sensors, the system initiates a preferential zone heating system with first preference being the road. When the road from the bottom tunnel entrance to the residences is clear of snow and ice, the sidewalks and parking lot will begin to clear.  If during the second cycle (sidewalk & parking area) any additional or new snow buildup is experienced on the road, it will again take preference back to the road maintaining accessibility at all times. This system also utilizes multiple M329 Selector Boxes that phases the power on or off one at a time to each individual zone(circuit), this prevents primary circuit overload.

It is important to note that this system was designed to ASHRAE standards (snow melting requirements by region) as Heatizon designs all of its snow melting systems. Designing to this standard allows for the most economical operation and performance for the customer and the environment.  Jackson Hole, Wyoming required 26 watts/sqft to meet the snow melt requirements for this application.  Tuff Cable was installed on 5″ centers to achieve the correct wattage output.  The final road covering was to be asphalt which requires machinery and a “hot” paving process.  Tuff Cable was installed in a sand based bed below the asphalt being anchored to the compacted surface.  A remote control operated conveyor belt dump truck spread and applied the sand over the Tuff Cable heating element evenly after it was anchored to the base.  The sand based layer was carefully compacted with a roller to prepare it for the final asphalt application.  Additionally, Tuff Cable was embedded in new concrete for the sidewalks, tunnel entrance, and the road drain gutters. Heatizon joint jumpers were used to span control joints as required by the National Electric Code for snow melting cables (surprisingly a unique aspect of Heatizon snow melting systems that separates these systems from the competition) see photo gallery Condo/Cabling Electric Radiant Floor and Space Heating

Each Cabin/Condo features Heatizon low voltage heating elements for entire space heating and heated floor comfort. ZMesh and Tuff Cable are used for in floor heat and zoned to create a LEED qualifying efficiency level and standard throughout the development.  ZMesh was used under the wood floors, which are the majority of the floor coverings. Using ZMesh under the wood floors was an attractive solution since it can be nailed and stapled through and provides an even and gentle heat for these solid wood floors.

Tuff Cable Floorizwarm and SLC500 Systems were used for smaller in floor heat areas such as Master Bathrooms and Utility areas.  Each condo also has a heated slab area in the garage to eliminate moisture buildup and speed drying of hanging winter recreational equipment that may drip water from melted snow on the floor.  All of the floors utilize Heatizon products and are zoned accordingly with their own programmable thermostats that can be tied into a smart home system or left as is.

All of the Heatizon Radiant systems in this development boast a 25 year warranty, are low voltage, and are 100% efficient.

Self Regulating Heat Trace Cables Comparison

The construction of high quality, commercial grade, Self Regulating Cables is basically the same until you get to the outer jacket or exterior insulator. In the middle of a 2 conductor Self Regulating Cable there are two conductors usually made of Copper and coated with something like Tin or Nickel. The two coated Copper conductors are surrounded by a semi-conductive heating matrix or Polymer which some call the “self regulating component”. The semi-conductive heating matrix or Polymer is covered by either a first adhesive inner jacket and then a Polyolefin jacket or just a Polyolefin jacket. In either case, the polyolefin jacket is surrounded by a metallic shield usually constructed of Tinned Copper which is covered by an outer jacket made of either Polyolefin, or Fluoropolymer (“Teflon” is DuPont’s brand name for Fluoropolymer).

Other than cost (Fluoropolymer is significantly higher than Polyolefin) the only significant difference between high quality, commercial grade, CR (Polyolefin) and CT (Fluoropolymer) Self Regulating Cables is the outer jacket. Knowing the difference between CR and CT, what they are designed to do and the applications for which they are suited can result in a great deal of savings because of the cost variation.

Companies specializing in Self Regulating Cables should be able to tell you which cable is best suited for your application and explain to you, in layman’s terms, the reasons the cable they recommend is best. However it is wise to trust, but verify, the information provided because sometimes even those that know better fail to effectively communicate. I have been surprised at the number of times I have seen a CT jacketed cable in a specification for snow melting in asphalt, concrete or under brick or stone pavers or for snow and ice melt on roofs and in rain gutters and downspouts when a CR jacketed cable would perform equally as well and cost substantially less.

In the world of Self Regulating Cables the CR (Polyolefin or sometimes called Modified Polyolefin) Outer Jacket is designed to be used where exposure to aqueous inorganic chemicals is anticipated and, the CT (Fluoropolymer) Outer Jacket is best suited for those applications where exposure to organic chemicals or corrosives is likely.

A very simplistic definition of organic compounds is those that contain carbon like the chemicals found in living organisms. Similarly, a simplistic definition of inorganic compounds is those from a mineral, and not a biological, origin that do not contain carbon. While there are a few exceptions to these simplistic definitions I think that they serve our needs for a discussion pertaining to Self Regulating Cables.

According to Wikipedia, “Aqueous” means dissolved in water and an “Aqueous Solution” means a solution in which the solvent is water. Examples of aqueous solutions include: soda, saltwater, rain, etc.

Summarizing, Self Regulating Cables which have a CR (Modified Polyolefin or Polyolefin) Outer Jacket are suitable for all applications where they may be exposed to Inorganic compounds (minerals such as Sodium, Ozone, Carbon Monoxide, etc. ) that are dissolved in water (Aqueous Inorganic Chemicals) as well as where they are exposed to oil and gasoline. Acceptable applications for CR Self Regulating Cables include roof snow and ice melting, rain gutter and downspout heating, snow melting off of asphalt, concrete and paver surfaces, warming of floors, heating of buildings, warming of pipes. and other applications where the cable will not be subjected to organic or corrosive compounds.

CT (Fluoropolymer or “Teflon” by DuPont) Outer Jacketed Self Regulating Cables best serve the needs of industrial applications where there is potential for the cable to be exposed to Organic and corrosive compounds such as Methane, Butane, Acetone, Toluene, Acetylene, Ethyl Alcohol, Acid, etc

Why 50 Watts per Square Foot?

Many companies that design and sell snow melt systems specify 50 Watts (170.6 Btu’s) per Square Foot for the heating area. Delivering 50 Watts per Square Foot often times requires a very large source of energy (electricity, gas, oil, etc.), and costs a great deal to operate. Why are they designing snow melt systems that deliver 50 Watts (170 Btu’s) per Square Foot over the entire area to be snow melted? Surprisingly there are many reasons given but, only one of them stands up under scrutiny and, as a result, is justified from “in the best interests of the end user” perspective.

The only correct reason is: Given the geographic location of the project and the annual snow fall rates for that location, combined with the needs and desires of the customer, 50 Watts per Square Foot are required to satisfactorily melt snow.
Below are some of the most common, yet incorrect, reasons for designing 50 Watts (170.6 Btu’s) per Square Foot or some other equally subjective number into a snow melt system design.
Reason #1: Because 50 Watts per Square Foot is always necessary! – Maybe, if your project is a Helipad, or other critical area that must under any and all circumstances be clear of snow and ice, then that amount of heat may be correct, provided; the project is located in Vancouver, BC or Salt Lake City, Utah. In nearly all other snowy areas of the U.S. and Canada 50 Watts per Square Foot is not enough heat.  What about a non-critical driveway or sidewalk? While there is no definitive answer that is geographically neutral, most of the time residential and non-critical commercial/industrial snow melt projects require less than 50 Watts per Square Foot to satisfactorily melt snow, any more is a waste of energy, money and expensive service upgrades.

Reason #2: 50 Watts per Square Foot is What My Product Delivers! – Seldom spoken but frequently the real reason is simply that the project has been designed to meet the needs of the specific product that the party submitting the proposal represents. Designing the project to fit the product is problematic for many reasons including: it forces the designer to overdesign the materials necessary to satisfy the requirements of the project; it costs more both up front in materials, labor, and energy supply size; and, it costs more in operating expense.

Reason #3: It is Better to Over Perform When it Comes to Snow Melting! – Don’t fall for it; designing a snow melting system to “over perform” is code for “hang onto your wallet” not only up front but over the life of the system, which should be many years.

The Bottom Line! How much heat is required to melt snow in a given geographic area depends not only upon location but also upon the annual snow fall hours experienced and the needs and desires of the end user or customer. Heatizon Systems determines the correct amount of heat for its snow melt projects by relying upon information available from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers, Inc. (“ASHRAE”) and understanding the expectations of its customers.

Is 50 Watts per Square Foot needed to melt snow? Sometimes!

Steven Bench is the Managing Member of Heatizon Systems a leading manufacturer and marketer of electric radiant heating and snow melting products located in Murray, Utah.

Preventing Ice Dams on Your Roof

Leaks in the attic? Stains on the ceilings? Damaged roof shingles after a long winter? You may be suffering from ice dams. This article is an explanation of ice dams and possible solutions to prevent them from occurring in the future.

Ice Dams
An ice dam occurs when the temperature at the base of the roof is below freezing, but higher portions of the roof are above freezing. We all know that heat rises, and that makes the apex of a roof the warmest part. Snow on the warmer portion of the roof will melt, flow down and freeze when it reaches the base of the roof, thus starting an ice dam. As more snow melts at the top of the roof, more ice forms at the base of the roof, and the dam increases in size. Eventually, the water stopped by the ice dam will back up and remain stagnant on the roof, or it will gradually seep into the building’s structure.
Varying roof temperatures are primarily caused by heat loss from within a structure. Inadequate insulation, leaky ducts and poor ventilation are all contributing factors to this heat loss.

Solutions to Prevent the Formation of Ice Dams

Uniform roof temperature is the key to preventing the formation of ice dams. However, there are a variety of methods to ensure this unvarying temperature. The following is a list of options on how to prevent the formation of ice dams or minimize damage:

1. Install roof de-icing and snow melting system: A system is installed under roofing materials to provide uniform heat across the roof.
Advantages: fast and effective, maintenance free, roof retains aesthetic beauty
Disadvantages: costly
Note: An affordable, high-quality system may be purchased from Heatizon Systems.

2. Remove the snow from the roof and gutters: A person manually scrapes the snow off the roof before it forms an ice dam.
Advantages: inexpensive, immediate results in emergencies
Disadvantages: temporary fix, dangerous, may damage roof shingles, laborious

3. Increase insulation: More interior insulation prevents heat loss from the interior of a structure from reaching the roof.
Advantages: inexpensive, helpful in preventing ice dam formation
Disadvantages: not 100% effective, laborious

4. Seal leaks: Seal interior leaks to prevent air flow from inside a structure to the roof.
Advantages: inexpensive, helpful in preventing ice dam formation
Disadvantages: not 100% effective, laborious

5. Ventilate attic: A properly ventilated attic helps prevent moisture from building up on the inside surface of the roof.
Advantages: helps keep roof dry, helpful in preventing ice dam formation
Disadvantages: time consuming, laborious, not 100% effective

6. Install rubber-type sheets under roof shingles: These sheets protect against water that may leak through roof shingles.
Advantages: more leak protection, good alternative if better solution not possible
Disadvantages: expensive, does not prevent formation of ice dams

Membrane Roof (EPDM or TPO/PVC) Deicing

Membrane Roofs (EPDM or TPO/PVC) – Heating them, life expectancy and options

EPDM is Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. EPDM roofs are singly ply membranes (one ply of roofing material, not multiple laminated layers).  Since the 1960’s EPDM roofs have been used in the United States and is a quite common roofing material for low slope roofs. Simply a rubber material – EPDM is a flexible rubber matrix that is formed from a chemical reaction when Diene is added to the Ethylene and Propylene mix.  EPDM can be reinforced or un reinforced, vulcanized or non-vulcanized (chemical process for converting rubber or related polymers into more durable materials via the addition of sulfur or other curatives or accelerators) – vulcanization on Wikipedia.

Thicknesses range from thirty mils (0.030″) to one hundred mils (0.100″). A common thickness for roofing is forty five mils (0.045″) or sixty mils (0.060″).  EPDM roofs can be adhered with adhesive, mechanically fastened, or floated(loose laid). Adhered EPDM uses water or solvent based adhesives, mechanically fastened EPDM uses fasteners, floated or loose laid is only fastened around the edges and penetrations(typically these roofs are underlayments for rock, pavers etc, something that will hold it down around the perimeter or the entire surface).

When installing multiple EPDM sections, adhesive or tape is used to seal seams.  In terms of longevity, EPDM roofs last anywhere from 12 to 25 years, depending on the mil, type, and attachment method used.

TPO/PVC Membranes are another type that can be installed over our roof deicing elements. These membranes are thermoplastic materials with no chemical crosslinking. These membranes can be repeatedly softened by heating or hardened when cooled. PVC and TPO membranes can be installed by adhering, mechanically attaching, or ballasting.  Seams are heated or chemically welded together. These membranes typically have the same life expectancy as EPDM membranes.

Heatizon ZMesh or Tuff Cable in Invizimelt or Heatsink systems can be installed under EPDM or TPO/PVC roofs easily.  ZMesh or Tuff Cable systems can be adhered to an existing membrane(if there is one) while another is attached on top. If there is a subroof below and no existing membrane and penetrations are not a concern, ZMesh can be nailed or stapled down into non-conductive surfaces, Tuff Cable heatsink or Invizimelt systems can also me nailed down to the subdeck or subroof.  Membranes are then installed on top of these systems creating a long lasting invizible heated roof surface that could extend the life of the EPDM roof allowing drainage since drainage is a large factor in the life expectancy of membrane roofs. See more about our roof deicing solutions here

The image on the right is ZMesh installed under a TPO membrane for deicing and drainage

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