Deerfield Academy reduces carbon footprint with new ice arena

  • The Deerfield ice arena, with its Class of 1993 Rink presently without its cover of ice, at Deerfield Academy is designed to be energy efficient. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Deerfield Academy Athletic Director Bob Howe in the Class of 1993 Rink, inside the school’s energy-efficient ice arena. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Deerfield ice arena, with its Class of 1993 Rink presently without its cover of ice, at Deerfield Academy is designed to be energy efficient. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 3/26/2019 6:17:05 PM

DEERFIELD — Deerfield Academy’s new ice arena, recently christened with boys and girls hockey seasons, plays a role in the school’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

The arena’s ice3 Cube refrigeration system, manufactured by New Hampshire company Emerald Environmental Technologies, can make ice and heat simultaneously without increasing electricity use. The arena, which sits inside the prep school’s new athletics complex, houses the Class of 1993 Rink.

According to Emerald, the refrigeration system has the ability to capture and repurpose what would have been waste heat, which is energy most refrigeration systems essentially throw away.

According to a statement from the school, “The waste heat produced by the every-day operation of the refrigeration system is captured and redirected to be reused in other parts of the facility such as (for) lobby heat and radiant floor heat provided for spectator comfort, Zamboni ice melting pit, heat for the locker rooms, sidewalk melt for the entire length of the sidewalk from the field house and ice arena, (as well as) heat for the 105,000-square-foot field house.”

Al Joseph, a sales engineer for Emerald Environmental Technologies, explained the dramatic reduction in fossil fuel heating boilers lessens greenhouse gas emissions.

The Class of 1993 Rink, most of which was paid for by a member of that graduating class in honor of his classmates, replaced the previous rink, colloquially known as “the barn,” which was torn down in March 2017 after the end of hockey seasons. This building was one of the least energy-efficient ones on campus.

According to Emerald, early estimates suggest the Deerfield Academy’s energy incentives are $85,000 from Eversource and an expected $80,000 from Berkshire Gas.

Bob Howe, athletic director at Deerfield Academy, said the rink will be used for baseball and softball batting practice starting March 25. The boys hockey season ended March 2, and the girls season finished the week prior. Cables will be stretched from one side of the rink to the other, and a net will be hung over them to create the batting cages. Howe said the ice has been removed from the rink, which is merely a concrete surface now.

“We shave (the ice) with a Zamboni, get it down to a … half-inch, and then we just let it melt. And then we squeegee it up with a machine that you ride around and it sucks the water up,” he explained. “We make new ice next fall.”

Joseph said the waste heat is utilized in ways other than heating the building. He explained the snow shavings removed by the Zamboni are put in an indoor bunker, where there is a coil installed to melt the shavings. There is also a “warm floor” under the ice slab that uses hot glycol, an organic compound, to stay heated to approximately 40 degrees to avoid any potential frost below the ice sheet.

“By using reclaimed heat wherever possible, the traditional refrigeration cooling towers that rely on using fan, water and pump energy to reject the heat outdoors operate with considerably lower runtimes, saving additional electrical consumption and water usage as well,” Joseph said.

Howe said the school is taking the opportunity to repair some of the stands in the arena. Also, the glass wall separating the arena from the circulation space is being replaced.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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