System from city-based Arden keeps snow from sticking at Miriam

System from city-based Arden keeps snow from sticking at Miriam

Workers last summer installed the new underground snow melting system at Miriam Hospital. Pawtucket-based Arden Engineering did the work.

PROVIDENCE – Winter at Miriam Hospital has had a different feel this year thanks to a new underground snow melting system installed by Pawtucket-based Arden Engineering Constructors.

Miriam’s emergency room entrance is now equipped to easily deal with freezing temperatures and icy pavement after the melting system was installed last summer, providing security and peace of mind, say those involved with the project.

Representatives for Arden say the hydronic snow melting system uses newer radiant heat technology. Hot water mixes with glycol anti-freeze, which circulates through closed-loop polymer Pex tubing installed in the pavement. The hot liquid is circulated from a central water heater/boiler through the tubing to warm the emergency entrance and sidewalks at Miriam.

Because the liquid mixture retains heat for a long time, even after the boiler shuts down, the system can reduce energy use, adding to its efficiency and making it environmentally friendly.

Snow sensors detect precipitation and temperature to activate the system only when it is needed. A thermostat communicates with the hospital’s internal weather control station to agree on a synchronized start time. The result is a boiler that runs more efficiently and cycles less.

Representatives from Miriam Hospital said the goal of the project was to improve safety for patients, visitors and medical personnel outside of the Miriam Emergency Department entrances on Fifth Street. Snow and ice can create slippery conditions on sidewalks and in parking areas and pose a hazard for those arriving by ambulance or walking in. The project “offered an efficient, reliable way to keep up with inclement weather,” they said.

To install the melt system beneath the paved surfaces of the ambulance and walk-in entrances, entrances and walkways needed to be redesigned. Planters and landscaping were also added.

During this winter’s snow and ice events, the system worked “like a charm,” said David Britland, director of facilities management for The Miriam Hospital. The areas outside the Emergency Department have remained clear of snow and ice, he said.

Representatives from the hospital are not saying how much the system cost to install.

Manufactured by Watts, the system transports hot water from the hospital building to a heat exchanger that feeds a glycol solution to tubing beneath exterior surfaces. The surface is heated to a desired temperature monitored by sensors installed in walkways that detect temperature and precipitation levels. That information is fed to a control module that increases the temperature of the hot water to maintain the slab temperature. In the event of accumulating snow or ice, the water circulation rate can be increased to boost performance.

Visit for more on Arden Building Companies, a company including Arden Engineering Constructors, Corporate Mechanical of New England, MJ Daly and Unique Metal Works under one umbrella. The company continues to grow at its headquarters on Narragansett Park Drive in Pawtucket.