Managing Energy Costs in Ice Rinks

Ice rinks are highly energy-intensive businesses that can benefit from energy-saving strategies. Implementing measures that save energy can boost your bottom line and help your ice rink develop a greener image. The measures described below are generally among the most effective options, yielding substantial energy savings with short simple payback periods.

Most electricity consumption in ice rinks generally goes toward refrigeration, lighting, pumps, and fans, and most thermal energy goes toward heating (Figure 1). Because these facilities require simultaneous heating and cooling, efficiency measures that can reduce one load individually will affect the energy consumption of the other, as well. For example, a reduction in air temperature, which lowers the amount of energy required for space heating, will also cause the ice to melt more slowly, thereby reducing the refrigeration load.

Average energy use data

Figure 1: Average energy use in a Canadian ice rink
Heating generally represents one of the largest sources of energy consumption in ice rinks, and it can be drastically reduced through a variety of measures. End-use energy consumption is shown for a typical inefficient ice rink (A) as well as a highly efficient ice rink using heat recovery and other energy-saving measures (B).
Figure 1: Energy consumption by end use
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Because the refrigeration and pumping systems in ice plants comprise the majority of electricity consumption in ice rinks, they are great areas for applying efficiency measures. Figure 2 shows typical heat sources in a standard ice rink. The best areas for refrigeration savings are generally found through reducing radiated heat, rink temperature and humidity, brine pump work (used for chilling the ice), and ice resurfacing.

Figure 2: Refrigeration system heat sources
Energy-saving measures should be targeted at the areas that have large loads on the refrigeration system. Reducing impacts from radiant heat, humidity, rink temperature, brine pump work, and ice resurfacing will yield the best results.
Radiant heat, humidity, rink temperature, brine pump work, and ice resurfacing will yield the best results
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