City of Vernon installs REALice at all indoor arenas

City of Vernon installs REALice at all indoor arenas

November 15, 2021 – Vancouver BC. The City of Vernon’s Kal Tire Place has said goodbye to its reliance on hot water to maintain its twin ice surfaces.

Instead, it has installed a mechanical rink de-aerator to reduce energy costs, lower CO2 emissions — and its operations team is still able to provide great quality ice for its user groups despite using cold water.

This is the City’s second installation of the de-aeration system. In April 2020, a REALice water treatment system was installed at the Priest Valley Arena in the Vernon Recreation Centre.

Because of favorable results there, and with point-of-sale rebates through FortisBC which covered 75% of the costs, the City decided to move ahead with the de-aerator at the Kal Tire Place.

“It’s not about our process being broken,” says Arena Operations Supervisor Bryan Hawn. “It’s about a new process to reduce the cost of making and maintaining the ice.”

Hawn says the environmental savings was key when the City decided to adopt this technology.

“The City of Vernon is trying to reduce expenses and make its facilities more sustainable,” Hawn explains.

“The City has already done a number of green initiatives and we felt in the recreation department that this was an opportunity to make our difference for the community.”

“We all know there’s a lot of money spent on facilities so it’s great if we can save a little bit.

Of course, ice quality is always a concern with any switch but at this point, I feel it’s doing really well,” says Hawn.

The REALice system eliminates the need to use extremely hot water when maintaining the ice. The floodwater for all of Vernon’s ice surfaces used to be heated to 160°F (71°C). Now the floodwater is down to 60°F (15°C), and those lower temperatures are having a significant impact on both natural gas and electricity consumption.

With the City’s projected annual energy cost savings of $22,280 at Kal Tire Place, the new system will recover the investment well before the end of this season with help of the FortisBC rebate.

The reduced consumption will also contribute to just under 70 tCO2e less in annual greenhouse gas emissions for the City.

With the Kal Tire Place installation, Vernon is the fifth municipality in B.C. with multiple indoor ice surfaces – after Nanaimo, Kelowna, Kimberley, and Saanich – to convert all of its indoor ice to the REALice floodwater technology with assistance from the FortisBC’s Rink De-aerator program.

Attention FortisBC customers: 

The current rebate level is available to FortisBC customers only until December 31, 2021. Applications need to be in by Dec 17th at the latest. After that, the customer will have 180 days to install and commission the system.