Athabasca Regional Multiplex Installs Cost and Greenhouse Saving System

The Athabasca Regional Multiplex (ARM) has said goodbye to its reliance on hot water to maintain its ice surface.

A mechanical ice rink flood water de-aerator (REALice) has been installed to reduce energy costs, and lower CO2 emissions. What’s best is the ARM operations team will still be able to provide great quality ice for its user groups despite using cold water to flood the rink.

The REALice system eliminates the need to use extremely hot water when maintaining the ice. The floodwater used to maintain the Multiplex ice used to be heated to 140°F. Starting in late August 2022, when the operations team puts the ice back in, the floodwater temperature is expected to go down to 60°F or less. That lower temperature will have a significant impact on both natural gas and electricity consumption.

The 3D-printed REALice water treatment system is expected to reduce annual electricity and natural gas consumption by 24,144 kWh and 117 GJ respectively. That’s an expected annual cost savings of at least $2,390 per year using 2022 energy and carbon costs. The facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 19.8 tCO2e annually, avoiding an estimated $17,997 in carbon tax between 2023 and 2030 when considering the blended cost of carbon emissions alone.

The installation was made possible thanks to a rebate grant provided by the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre’s (MCCAC) Recreation Energy Conservation (REC) program. The program provides grants to municipalities for implementing energy-saving projects.

Town of Athabasca Mayor Robert Balay says the adoption of this technology makes sense. With REALice, the community will be saving money and reducing our greenhouse gas emission footprint,” says Mayor Balay. “That’s good for taxpayers, the environment, and user groups. The Town is finding ways to reduce costs and make our facilities more sustainable. For the Athabasca Regional Multiplex, going to cold floodwater technology makes sense.”

Municipal Energy Manager Kevin Jacobs is excited this project was embraced by the Town of Athabasca and Athabasca County Councils, and the ARMS board. “After salaries, a recreation facility’s biggest operational cost is energy. REALice, is maintenance-free, has an expected life of at least 25 years, was a very easy install, will have a meaningful impact on costs, and will reduce CO2 emissions for years to come.”

Tim Wolfenberg, Multiplex Facility Manager (left), and Kevin Jacobs, Municipal Energy Manager, pose in front of the REALice system.
Multiplex Facility Manager Tim Wolfenberg shows the hand-held REALice unit in the photo on the right.