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©2015 This excerpt taken from the article of the same name which appeared in ASHRAE Journal, vol. 57, no. 9, September 2015

Jason LaRosh, P.E., Member ASHRAE

About the Author
Jason LaRosh, P.E., is a mechanical engineer at Angus-Young Associates, Inc., in Janesville, Wis.

Manufacturing enormous amounts of ice for hockey creates enormous amounts of heat. To reduce operating costs at the Janesville Ice Arena in Wisconsin, during a facility renovation, designers picked a pond loop geothermal refrigeration system to replace the arena’s outdated ice refrigeration system. The ice system replacement also included removing the original concrete cold slab, refrigerant piping system, chiller, cooling tower and water treatment systems.

New building system improvements include a new hot water heating system and installation of a new fire protection system for the existing building.

An additional 2,000 ft2 (186 m2) was added to the existing 26,000 ft2 (2415 m2) building for new locker rooms, an ice resurfacing melt pit and resurfacing equipment storage area. The arena’s seating area is approximately 1,200 people. Administration areas (including offices, skate rental and warming areas) were not directly a part of this project.


Energy Efficiency

The net 26,000 ft2 (2415 m2) ice arena includes one 200 ft by 85 ft (61 m by 26 m) regulation ice sheet. The original ice refrigeration system was installed in 1964 and was at the end of its useful life. It used R-22 refrigerant circulated in piping embedded in the rink floor.

The new ice refrigeration system’s pond loop geothermal system uses city-owned Lion’s Pond that is adjacent to the building as thermal storage to pull heat from and reject heat to the ice sheet refrigeration system. The ice refrigeration system is made up of three water-source heat pumps with a cooling capacity of 50 tons (176 kW) each. The pond is used as a renewable energy source through the combining of a series of high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe loops that are sunk to the bottom of the pond approximately 18 ft (5.4 m) deep. The water-source heat pumps supply 30% glycol solution at 17°F (– 8.3°C) to the ice rink.

The heat pumps are designed to operate with a cooling efficiency of approximately 11.0 energy efficiency ratio (EER) and a heating efficiency coefficient of performance (COP) between 3.4 and 3.8. The geothermal source side of the system maintains an average temperature of 70 °F (21 °F) at peak summer loads .

The system was designed to reclaim as much heat as possible from the water-source heat pumps and use it to heat water for the ice sheet underfloor heating system, the snow melt pit, and the ice resurfacing water preheat system. The underfloor heating system distributes tempered water to a bed of sand located beneath the concrete ice slab and keeps the subfloor above freezing (34°F to 38°F [1.1°C to 3.3°C]) to prevent the ice slab from cracking or upheaving.

A snow melt pit was added inside to allow the ice resurfacing equipment a place to unload ice without exposing the arena and its ice skaters to ambient conditions. It is equipped with radiant piping in its walls and floors. The snow melt pit is designed to maintain a sump temperature range of 42°F to 45 °F (5.6°C to 7.2°C) and be capable of melting a full ice resurfacing load within one hour.

The existing building hot water heating system was redesigned with a low temperature, condensing hot water boiler designed to provide 120°F (49°C) heating hot water to the office areas and to provide auxiliary heat to the locker rooms. The new low temperature system is designed to operate with return water temperatures between 90°F and 100°F (32°C to 38°C), and will operate with a combustion efficiency of approximately 94%. The previous cast-iron boilers were operating with a total thermal efficiency closer to 75%.


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  • 31 Oct 2015 | Janet Bowman
  • The thermal modification to a pond and the further co2 adaption to an arena are fascinating. Your hard copy article on the Vatican with changes of the amount of visitors affecting the dirt on the sistine walls was truly amazing. I was there last summer.
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