Explore Canadian Ice Rink Sustainability Efforts

by | Energy Conservation

Can ice in Canada contribute to global warming? You bet. No, not the ice you find on ponds or naturally. But consider that the country is home to nearly 8,000 indoor and outdoor ice arenas, according to the International Ice Hockey Federation. All depend on man made ice, and the IIHF says most arenas constantly battle high maintenance costs and energy consumption.

Why? Typically, ice made with hot water turns out smoother and bubble-free – more ideal for skating. During hockey season in Canada, arenas consume about four billion liters of water to make ice, requiring excess energy and resources to heat and freeze it. To cut costs and conserve energy but still maintain impeccable skating conditions, ice rinks often invest in energy-efficient technology and materials.

One innovative sustainable solution comes from REALice, a water treatment system that uses unheated water to resurface ice rinks. The company’s website says the system can reduce an arena’s natural gas usage by 79 percent and its electricity consumption by 12 percent – all without sacrificing ice quality. REALice also claims its system is simple to install and requires no maintenance.

More than 300 ice arenas across the globe use the technology and REALice plans to reach about 4,000 ice rinks in Canada alone. Check out the following Canadian skating facilities that use REALice and other green energy efforts.

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Ice Box Arena

Ice Box Arena, in Kamloops, British Columbia, hosts skating events such as birthday parties, hockey leagues, figure skating lessons and more. Through REALice technology, the ice rink has conserved about 55,000 kWh of electricity. That’s enough to power a home for almost five years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Ice Box Arena was one of the first to test the REALice system. The results? Better ice quality and less need for dehumidification throughout the arena.

Pearkes Recreation Centre

Located in the municipality of Saanich in Victoria, British Columbia, the Pearkes Recreation Centre is another REALice client. With 31,000 square feet of indoor ice space available, the facility hosts skating and hockey programs such as the Saanich Minor Hockey Association, the Saanich Junior Braves Hockey Organization, the Saanich Figure Skating Club and more. It also holds open ice time for public skating events. With the REALice system, the Pearkes Recreation Centre can maintain the quality of its ice and accommodate skaters of all ages!

Fuller Lake Arena

Fuller Lake Arena, in the municipality of North Cowichan in Chemainus, British Columbia, introduced REALice a few years ago to maintain its rink. Implementing energy efficient ice technology allowed it to curb hot water demands and refrigeration run times throughout the rink. In addition, the arena made sustainable upgrades to its HVAC system’s ventilation unit and heat pumps. But those changes weren’t just about energy conservation – they also provided Fuller Lake Arena guests with top-notch skating conditions.

Pacific National Exhibition Agrodome

In 2014, the Pacific National Exhibition Agrodome installed a REALice system. Since then, it has slashed carbon emissions by 18 tons. The Vancouver-based ice arena believes the REALice system supports the eco-friendly ideals of the surrounding community. Since installation, maintenance tools such as arena Zambonis and water boilers are used less frequently. Vancouver community members also have expressed positive feedback on the Agrodome’s smooth, durable ice.

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