Monday, November 25, 2013

How To Heat An American Sidewalk

How To Heat An American Sidewalk

Think about this for a minute.

According to, the best financially run state in the US today is North Dakota. The reason for this is due largely to the fact that ND is continueing to reap the benefits of fracking in the oil-rich Bakken Shale formation. As the state clearly has a significant economic growth rate and that growth rate is tied almost exclusively to fracking, it is also located in the snow belt meaning that despite the fact that an awful lot of people are reaping the economic benefits of fracking in the state of North Dakota, the exact same amount of people run continuous "snow belt based economic deficits".

Yes this is a serious economic and environmental essay, and, yes, because of my German Irish American ancestry, I do have somewhat of a wry, snow belt based sense of industrial and economic humor as it comes to both fracking and snow shoveling and the state of North Dakota. Let me get to the real point of this essay.

When one thinks about the notion that virtually every American city, town, village or hamlet located north of Saint Louis, Missouri is located in the snow belt, a number of financial realities become apparent. Perhaps the most obvious reality is the rather simple economic fact that per capita, many more snow shovels are sold north of Saint Louis than are sold south of Saint Louis.

Knowing this, and knowing as well that not only snow shovels are purchased but so to are chemicals designed to melt snow that accumulates on sidewalks north of Saint Louis, there is the larger fact that every home north of Saint Louis more or less has a private sidewalk leading up to its front door and off that main sidewalk are walkways leading to both side and back entrances as well as side patios and back decks not to mention driveways. And, of course, traversing the property lines of most private sidewalks located north of Saint Louis are public sidewalks.

Having stated all of the above, and noting the fact that the state of North Dakota is benefiting from the economic development of oil shale, let's just forget altogether about North Dakota in every economic aspect but sidewalks and progressive northern United States economic development as that development is related to 21st century economic and industrial management of snow removal.

The moment we do so, a number of quite viable domestic economic growth and domestic industrial expansion scenarios begin to emerge that positively affect every municipality and every state and every private sidewalk and driveway and every public walkway located  north of Saint Louis, Missouri.

In order to put what I have said into a modern 21st century proactive industrial and environmental setting (or perspective), let's look at the historic industrial function the sidewalk as well as the present economic dysfunction of "the snow shovel".

Considering the fact that there are undoubtedly hundreds of thousands of miles of paved private and public sector sidewalks installed in the snow belt north of Saint Louis and considering the fact that a significant majority of these sidewalks have long ago twisted and turned, cracked and heaved and to one extent or another made it virtually impossible for the homeowner to efficiently use a snow shovel to clear these sidewalks, or municipalities to financially afford either the shoveling or salting of public sidewalks, the sidewalks themselves remain, and, as they do the remain, they are a negative financial instrument even in North Dakota.

While all of the above scenario is clearly a negative financial given, the much more positive fact that the sidewalks remain is what this author describes as the potential to financially harvest an enormously dynamic stockpile of earth based aggregates not the least of which are at all dissimilar to the aggregates of North Dakota based oil shale that are also being harvested - meaning that as the state of North Dakota is clearly benefiting from the processing of oil shale, every state north of Saint Louis could be benefiting equally if in fact the aggregates found in sidewalks were reconstituted for the purpose of once and for all removing the snow shovel from the present anciently redundant economic equation of snow management in municipalities located north of Saint Louis, Missouri altogether.

As this essay is entitled "How To Heat An American Sidewalk", the question becomes what type of mixed energy technologies become integrated with reconstituted sidewalk aggregates once those aggregates are reprocessed and reused to re-pour the sidewalks of America north of Saint Louis, Missouri and how do those energy technologies keep sidewalks free of ice and snow all winter long in the process?

The larger question then is really not a question but rather a broader portrait of a rather unique and dynamic municipal, public utility and private sector industrial blueprint of how we in America can truly produce a true mixed energy use infrastructure model that illuminates in quite the positive economic manner the continued sustainability of municipal services, the outgrowth of new construction trades related to such issues as the progressive incorporation of geothermal heat technologies, the subsequent growth in the manufacturing, sales and maintenance of light industrial earth moving equipment, the subsequent growth of aggregate pulverizing equipment, the subsequent growth of aggregate transportation equipment, the subsequent growth of ground water and rainwater collection and runoff technologies that should be installed parallel to both our private and municipal sidewalks, the subsequent growth of solar powered low voltage sidewalk illumination technologies, and, the subsequent growth of both public and private sector jobs, taxing bodies and 21st century industrial investment portfolios.

Thus within this much broader portrait is not only the removal of a simple snow shovel from the entire snow removal question stated above but how such removal impacts the horizontal or lateral economic regulatory expansion of public utility grid blueprinting. As NAICS codes today define quite clearly the nature of the industries that make up our nations' public utility infrastructure, perhaps the most fascinating outcome of removing the snow shovel from the sidewalk snow removal equation is, from a regulatory point of view, the fact that once any form of electric or water service parallels a municipal sidewalk and subsequently connects to residential property from a public utility entity, such technology becomes a part of an existing public utility, meaning that every aspect of sidewalk replacement north of Saint Louis, Missouri is ultimately paid for in precisely the same manner municipal and public utility infrastructure improvements have always been paid for which is through monthly gas, electric and water bills.

Thanks for stopping by.

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