Roadmap to a Greener Rink with the Arena Guide Canada
October 16, 2018
No other country in the world has more ice rinks than Canada. While we are lucky to enjoy many modern facilities all across the country, we also have to face the sad reality that the majority is still very inefficient in their energy consumption. Statistics Canada estimated that in 2014, arenas in Canada consumed 17.2 Million gigajoules (GJ) of energy, the equivalent of burning 2.9 million barrels of oil.
Ice arenas fully optimized with today’s available technologies could cut up to 60% of their current energy usage. What’s needed is comprehensive information for arena operators on how to improve facility performance.
Working with ice arenas since 2013
It all started in 2013, when FortisBC conducted a large-scale pilot and equipped ten ice arenas across British Columbia with the REALice technology. The pilot study showed a reduction in natural gas usage of 350GJ per ice sheet per season while maintaining excellent ice quality. In 2016, Toronto Hydro confirmed through a measurement and verification project at the George Bell Arena in Toronto that in addition to the natural gas savings, over 70,000 kWh of electricity can saved. The combined savings in natural gas and electricity amount to 35- 40tonnes of CO2 reduction that can be achieved with each sheet of ice.
Today, 57 REALice systems are in use across Canada, from Vancouver Island to our latest installation in Baie Verte, Newfoundland. Several communities have already more than one system in operation.
What still seemed to be missing was a systematic approach and tool to provide a simple yet comprehensive roadmap to reduce emissions from the facility. So we built one. We believe that if applied to a majority of the Canadian inventory of ice arenas, a significant overall reduction of GHG emissions across Canada could be achieved.
Go Green Framework for rinks
That was the advent of the Arena Guide’s Go Green framework, consisting of nine categories featuring 55 ideas and suggestions to lower an arena’s footprint. Reducing the carbon footprint and operational costs of a facility with these measures helps keep hockey, figure skating, curling and other ice sports affordable.
While many best practices are operational and/or easy to incorporate such as controlling the arena lights by staff, there are other measures that require novel solutions and significant capital investment such as upgrading to LED lighting. We wanted to incorporate both levels of activity and built a Supplier’s directory as well as an overview of available funding sources to help with capital costs of new solutions.
Our ambition is to build a community around the Go Green Framework and encourage arena operators to share their experience while greening their facility. We will be relaying information through social media, a newsletter, and surveys in an effort to get more facilities onboard.
“This is a very clear and comprehensive resource; the best I’ve seen by far for this sector!”
– Toronto Hydro engineer
Our company’s background
SWiCH Services Inc., based in Vancouver, BC, sources best in class energy and emission saving technologies from around the world and educates Canadians on solutions to collectively shrink our carbon footprint. SWiCH’s introduction of REALice technology to Canada enables ice arenas to use unheated water for resurfacing the ice. Not heating the water used for resurfacing saves a remarkable amount of energy. Likely the most prominent arena in Canada using this technology is Rogers Arena in Vancouver, flooding their ice at much lower temperatures than before and getting fantastic ice quality rating by the officials.
The Arena Guide Canada and the Go Green Framework are initiatives by SWICH but the guide is technology agnostic. Only the supplier directory highlights specific technologies.