Green Star Winter Survival Guide


Surviving winter in Alaska takes some ingenuity and street smarts. Sometimes your survival activities can use hazardous materials, can affect water and air quality and can certainly increase energy use. This page offers tips and ideas specifically about winter.


Outdoor Grounds and Parking Lot Maintenance
In winter, your salting and sanding practices can affect spring air quality as well as affect the surrounding vegetation and water bodies.

• If you have a parking lot, be sure to use larger aggregate such as pea gravel rather than sand. The smaller particles are more easily tracked onto roadways and blown into the air as snow melts and parking lots dry.

• Be sure to clean up traction aggregate as early as you can in the spring using an approved wet-sweep method. Ask your contractor what method they use before you hire someone for the job.

• When salting sidewalks, be sure to use only the quantities necessary to do the job. And remember that the purpose of salt is to break the bond between snow/ice and the pavement so the snow/ice can be removed. It is not meant to melt away the snow/ice so don’t expect this to happen or add more salt if it is not happening.

• Not all ice melt products are the same. Read the package and look for the ones that are less harmful to the environment. Calcium chloride is recommended over sodium chloride (basic rock salt or road salt). It can be used in lower concentrations, it works at a lower temperature (-20 to -25ºF), and is less damaging to stream ecology. It can, however, cost about three times more than rock salt but other alternatives cost even more!

Melt Material Approximate Cost Corrosiveness Environmental Impact Minimum Temperature
Sodium Chloride
$50/ton
Severe
Severe
15ºF
Calcium Chloride
$300/ton
Severe
Moderate
-20ºF
Magnesium Chloride
$300/ton
Moderate
Low
5ºF
Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)
$900/ton
Low
Low
20ºF