Ice Rinks

The cooling system is critical in Ice rinks and arenas hosting them. The hardness of the ice is important to get the right speed, traction and experience from e.g. hockey players, figure skater or school children that spend the day on the rink.

The “climate” around the Ice Rink is affected by many factors but so, if the HVACR-system fails it will cause bad ice and a bad experience both for the “user” and the audience.

The energy consumption in ice rinks is high and the cooling aggregates are an essential part of the cost. Ensuring that the system runs optimal with ClimaCheck and don’t fail will save a lot of money and income losses connected to breakdowns.

In Sweden, the project “Stoppsladd” is identifying and presenting the energy consumption of different categories of ice rinks. ClimaCheck is part of this project in order to optimise and analyse the cooling aggregates.

Case studies ice rinks:

The local Municipality in Nacka has six ice rinks to care for training and matches in ice hockey as well as training and competitions in figure skating. The experience was that these arenas consume a lot of energy and preventive and reactive maintenance was costly for the municipality. Already more than ten years ago technical staff was allocated responsibility to bring down costs of operation of the ice rinks. 

It quickly became clear that the maintenance of technical installations were done with minimal documentation and what was handed over to the municipality did not contain any useful information to evaluate performance. Protocols were generally of the type saying everything was OK. Moreover there were high energy costs and several problems that required repeated maintenance visits without that cause of problems being identified, so temporary fixes were done with the hope that the problem might not occur again.

Introduction of performance analysis. 

The first step was to select one of the ice rinks and introduce ClimaCheck online (cloud based performance monitoring system) to establish a baseline and pinpoint what caused problems and what opportunities for optimisation that could be documented. 

The municipality’s energy coordinator then worked with contractors as well as experts to correct several serious problems that increased energy consumption but also caused high costs for reactive maintenance. As so often it was found that there were a combination of different measures that resulted in energy savings of 40% and significantly reduced problems experienced in operation of plant.

Measures identified by performance monitoring and implemented was mainly what could be considered a major recommissioning based on real time information on performance including:

  • Baseline of energy
    Variable speed pumps were installed and flows tuned with compressors to allow stable operation with optimal flows.
  • Resetting controls of heat recovery to recover as much as possible from condensers to minimise use of district heating and resistance heater that was used to heat water, dressing rooms and cafeteria as well as melting ice scraped from the rink.
  • Optimising ventilation and dehumidification as these are essential to reduce load on the refrigeration system. 
  • Temperature of brine and ice thickness was optimised as thicker ice requires lower brine temperatures that decrease performance.
  • Brine temperatures were optimised to activities as e.g. load during a tournament is significantly higher than during normal training.  
  • Expansion valves were adjusted. 
  • Dry cooler was tuned to balance heat recovery – not force high condensing more than beneficial but not dumping heat that could be used in the arena on the roof..
  • Maintenance staff was trained to increase understanding of energy consumption and how they can affect efficiency and reliability.

A drastic energy saving was achieved where daily energy use decreased from 4 100 kWh to 2 500 kWh (39%) which allowed extending opening from 258 to 315 days (22%) the optimisation resulted in a reduced carbon footprint of 219 metric tons.

Online performance monitoring has after this been implemented on all six ice rinks in the municipality. 

The project at “Älta ishall” have lowered their energy consumption with almost 40%. The more energy efficient system have also resulted in a much better business overall:

1 385 816 kWh1 263 352 kWhReduced
with 122 464
Days open per
258 Days315 DaysIncreased with 22%
2 7013 766Increased with 40%
Cost of energy
per reserved
424,6 SEK296,66 SEKReduced with 30% 
Energy consumption per 24hCa 4100 kWhCa 2500 kWh (Dec)Reduced with 1600kWh (39.1%)
Total Energy
546 000 kWh 
Reduced CO2
 218,8 Metric ton 

Älta ishall – Kyla + Värmepumpar nr 3 2012 

If you want to know more about how to minimise energy consumption, maintain energy efficiency and improve the performance of facilities heat pumps, chillers and air conditioning.

You are always welcome to Contact us for more information!

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