Most of the heartburn over the Point Mallard Ice Complex is that the ice rink loses money. The largest expenditure for an ice rink is the energy costs it takes to produce ice and maintain it.

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), for an inefficient ice rink, refrigeration is approximately 40% of the operating expense, approximately 20% of the operating expense is tied to facility lighting and approximately 10% of the operating expense is tied to operation of the building HVAC system.

With the design of an efficient ice rink, the refrigeration and lighting costs can be reduced by 50%.

This is a great opportunity to consider energy-saving upgrades for the Point Mallard ice rink, including:

• Optimization of ice thickness  — optimal ice thickness is maintained at 1 to 1.5 inches. When the Point Mallard ice rink was taken down during the summer, the ice in the middle of the rink was several inches thick. This unnecessarily burdens the refrigeration system, increasing energy costs.

• Replacement of lighting fixtures from 20 years ago with newer LED lighting.

• Install a heat recovery system. By recovering heat from the refrigeration system and using it elsewhere in the building, heating costs could be reduced by up to 75%.

• If a concrete base is installed over the floor refrigeration piping, commercial grade self-lubricating synthetic ice panels could be installed from mid-May to August over the base, allowing hockey and figure skating camps and practices to continue through the summer months while reducing ice refrigeration costs.

• Install solar panels on the roof of the complex to also offset some of the power cost.

Kyle Lowman 

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(2) comments

Betty Pickell

Why doesn’t the city consult with Kyle Lowman about the ice rink? His letter to The Decatur Daily on Nov. 5 made a great deal of sense. Our local experts could save us money and fix the problem!

Bernadette Driver

Just some input: Synthetic Ice Panels are not optimal for skating on. They cause added wear and tear on the skaters equipment. Adding a concrete floor would mean cutting concrete to perform maintenance when required.

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