06 Apr Keene Ice is Keen on REALice® System
Installation at Keene Community Ice Arena helps makes rink “green” from the start
April 6, 2016 – The Keene Community Ice Arena in Keene, NH celebrated its grand opening this past weekend with a friendly hockey game between the Keene Fire and Police departments, a figure skating display and free skate sessions. The NHL-sized single slab facility, which first opened to user groups at the end of November, 2015, uses the REALice® system, a revolutionary cold water alternative to maintaining ice. The REALice system is maintenance- and chemical-free and lets the operations team maintain their ice without using dedicated hot water, creating significant energy savings compared to old-school hot water methods of maintaining ice.
“The REALice system is working really, really well,” says Rick Martin, Keene Ice’s Operations Manager. “We’re home to both the mens and womens teams from Keene State College and have both boys and girls teams from Keene High School. We also have a boys junior varsity team from Monadnock Regional Middle-High School, figure skating, a tremendous Learn-to-Skate program – the usual stuff – and everybody loves the ice. And the ice looks great, it has a nice shine to it.”
Keene ICE (Ice Center Enterprises, Inc.) has a 10-member Board of Directors and was built with donations from both private and corporate sponsors, including local grocery distributor C&S Wholesale Grocers, the rink’s main on-ice sponsor and others such as The Mountain Corp., Clarke Distributors, Timken Foundation. As well, the rink got help from the City of Keene which included the land and $1.3 million.
Martin explains that the Building Committee paid close attention to energy efficiency when the rink was being designed. Those features include LED lighting, a low E-ceiling, radiant heating captured from the ice plant used throughout the facility and the front sidewalk, which stays snow free all winter long. The ice resurfacing is done with a second-hand electric Zamboni.
“This place is magnificent. As far as community rinks go, this is the best I’ve ever seen,” says Martin, who works for Rink Services Group, a rink management company out of Epping, NH that’s been subcontracted to manage the operations.
Dr. Tim Fisher, president of the non-profit organization says he’s proud of the end result.
“We are incredibly proud and thrilled with the end product,” says Fisher. “And I’m so appreciative of the people and the thought that went into being very mindful and deliberative about looking for energy savings opportunities, strategies and infrastructure that would help to support a greener environment and community.”
Indoor ice has been made for decades using very hot water, which removes tiny air bubbles from the water, resulting in a smooth skating surface when poured thinly and then frozen. The REALice® system is a radical and proven approach to ice making, removing the micro bubbles in the water, lowering its viscosity through a patented vortex process delivering the same results, without the expense of hot water.
Tom Smolarek, the managing director of Cypress Ltd, the energy advisory company that supplied the Keene Ice Community Arena, with their REALice system, says Keene Ice is an outstanding example of a “green approach” to ice rinks.
“The Keene Ice Board of Directors has done an exceptional job in reducing costs – and the rink’s carbon footprint – from the very beginning,” Smolarek says. “We find that most rinks retrofit with REALice can save upwards of $15,000 in utility costs their first year alone. The Keene arena will never have those costs from the beginning and those are substantial avoided costs.”
The REALice® system is available for purchase or can be financed.
For more information, contact:
Tom Smolarek, Managing Director
380 N. San Jacinto Street
Hemet, CA 92545
Toll free: (844) 464-8408