As part of an ongoing effort to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the Town of Banff has installed a REALice water treatment system for ice resurfacing in the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre. The project, partly funded by the Recreation Energy Conservation program administered through Municipal Climate Change Action Centre (MCCAC), aims to reduce the facility’s gas consumption by 9% and electricity consumption by 8%.
Climate change mitigation is a priority for Banff town council. Municipal facilities emit approximately 4% of all GHG emissions from Banff’s urban structures.
Using the REALice 'wand' to create ice on the rink
Recreation facilities typically use more energy and produce more GHG emissions than any other municipal facilities. Ice rinks in particular, traditionally use hot water (associated with higher energy use) for ice arena maintenance which contains less micro air bubbles, producing higher quality ice. The REALice system acts like hot water, but without the same heating expense. As a result, the rinks no longer need to heat the floodwater to extremely high temperatures, saving on energy.
The REALice water treatment system, installed in April 2020, was an investment of $35,318 with a 71% contribution from MCCAC. The system uses an in-line hydraulic device that strips entrained micro-bubbles and removes precipitates from the water that detract from ice quality. The Fenlands will use cold water to maintain the arena ice. As such, cold water will decrease the hot water demand on the building, reducing gas consumption of the boiler system, and electricity consumption of the compressors to keep the ice surface cool.
Fenlands Foreman Dan Peters shows Municipal Energy Coordinator Sally Biddlecombe how the energy saving equipment works
In response to an energy audit carried out for the Fenlands in 2019, the REALice system was the first energy efficient retrofit introduced. Additional measures include adjustments to the controls and scheduling of equipment run times, with more in-depth system changes to come.