Dow Centennial Centre in Fort Saskatchewan uses water straight from the tap to make great ice!

Dow Centennial Centre in Fort Saskatchewan uses water straight from the tap to make great ice!

Fort Saskatchewan August 2017 – The Dow Centennial Centre made the move away from hot water flooding to the REALice technology, which allows them to use unheated water straight out the tap! Arena technicians are concerned with energy usage, operating costs, and indoor climate in their facilities. Additional concerns for the environment demand clean technical solutions for operating arenas. The introduction of REALice into the Dow Centennial Centre’s ice-making system illustrates the arena’s move towards sustainable development.

“There was always a strong interest in this technology”, says Richard Christenson, Facility Operator III, “I was simply curious if there is anything out there that could help lower costs and maybe even make a better, clearer sheet of ice.” 

In May 2017, Christenson started making ice using the REALice technology and one of the first things he noticed was the reduction in the draw on the arena’s compressors.

“My condenser temperatures and pressures have dropped as I am now only having to remove heat from 45F degree water to 21F instead of removing heat from 160 Degrees to 18F ” Christenson adds, “The underfloor heating to eliminate ground frost should not run near as often, saving natural gas.”

The Dow Centennial Centre estimates an electricity saving of over 70,000 kWh and a natural gas saving of over 10,000m3 per year on their single pad, which has a shutdown period of approximately 4 weeks per year.

Their savings estimates are in line with the verified savings from Toronto Hydro and the estimated gas savings from Enbridge Gas at the George Bell Arena in Toronto.

“Yes, the savings will be a big plus”, says Christenson, “but, it is also about improving the ice quality, and that is what I am most excited about.”

The arena’s internal climate has also changed since the Dow Centennial Centre started using REALice technology.

“The arena space has warmed up so the need for the gas-fired bleacher heaters has been reduced… there is hardly any humidity in the arena, in the past, there has been a lot of humidity and my glass has been fogged up most of the summer”, says Richard Christenson. 

By applying the REALice system to ice making, the density of the water is increased, and freezing this water forms larger ice crystals. Larger ice crystals increase the strength and resilience of the ice. In fact, the ice is 46% stronger as shown in the Southern California Edison ice hardness testing report.

The increase in ice density is due to the absence of air bubbles in the frozen water, which means that less cooling is required. Christenson had already increased his brine by 3 degrees Fahrenheit and will continue to increase it by 1-2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, and thus save even more electricity!

Big Picture thinking:

With clean technology installations like REALice in the Dow Centennial Centre, Fort Saskatchewan will continue to improve and enhance their services and facilities to foster a liveable and safe community.

Dow Centennial Centre is the latest of a series of Alberta municipalities who have started to use REALice.

Earlier this year we equipped the City of Camrose, the Town of Innisfail, the Town of Rocky Mountain House, and the Trico Centre in Calgary

Municipalities in Alberta can benefit from the TAME+ program, an Alberta Government initiative for energy retrofits that pays up to 50% of the capital cost of the technology upgrades.