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New System Brings Big Savings to NH Ice Rinks

Indoor ice arenas are energy‐intensive facilities, so anytime they can reduce their energy spend, Unitil is there, supporting our customers with incentives. Two Unitil customers, the City of Dover and North Atlantic Hockey Group LLC, recently received incentives under the Smart Energy Solutions program to install the REALice cold water resurfacing system.

close up of ice in ice rink
Stat Grid Items
reduction in compressor run time
project costs covered by rebates
interest through Unitil’s on-bill financing program
Chet Murch

What amazes me is the lower run time we’re seeing on our compressors. Before REALice, our three compressors were running an average of 19 hours a day each. They’re now running almost half as often.

Chet Murch
Arena manager, The Rinks at Exeter

Main project details

Ice rinks traditionally use extremely hot water to resurface the ice to remove the micro air bubbles in the water – tiny bubbles that create fragile, brittle ice. The REALice System acts like hot water, but without the same water heating expense. As a result, the rinks are no longer heating up the floodwater to extremely high temperatures like they were before REALice was installed, saving on energy. Because the resulting water has fewer air bubbles in it than heated water, the ice freezes faster, which has an impact both on how the refrigeration plant runs as well as the arenas’ brine temperature settings, which will need to be reset higher. This further reduces energy usage.

Unitil was able to cover more than a third of the project costs through energy efficiency rebates. In addition to incentives, North Atlantic Hockey Group LLC took advantage of Unitil’s on‐bill financing program, charging 0 percent interest over 36 months.

“These projects probably wouldn’t happen without utility support,” said Gary Bannon, Recreation Director for the City of Dover.

“We’re glad to work as a team together with the utilities to realize projects like this. We’re thrilled with these kinds of projects, says Tim Noonis, Sr. Business Development Executive at Unitil. “By participating with incentives, we were able to encourage these rinks to be early adopters of this kind of technology, and greatly reduce their overall energy usage.”

The Rinks at Exeter interior