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Breaking the Ice

Let’s talk about hockey. Or do you prefer figure skating? Maybe you’re a little nerdy (like us!) and want to talk about CO2 transcritical refrigeration. You are in luck, because the St. Michael-Albertville (STMA) Ice Arena has all of that!

The STMA story is about an ice arena that had too many skaters and not enough ice time to go around. The STMA School District replaced their existing system with a Zero Zone ColdLoop™ Ice Arena Chiller that cools both their original ice sheet and a new ice sheet. Terry Zerwas, the school’s Director of Buildings & Grounds, described the transition as “flawless,” and their Activities Director Keith Cornell spoke about how this gives the boys’ and girls’ hockey teams a real home. Their rink is ready for hockey players and figure skaters alike. “An Olympic skater had a program here,” explained Terry Zerwas, “and that Olympic skater found that it was the best that they had skated on.”

St. Cloud Refrigeration (SCR) was responsible for installing the ColdLoop™ Chiller. SCR Owner Mark Fitch says their relationship with Zero Zone goes back 40 years. “We’ve always been very familiar with Zero Zone’s equipment. They put together a very nice product for us.”

The design team chose CO2 as the primary refrigerant that works with a secondary glycol loop. Arena Manager Grant Fitch believes CO2 could be “the future” for ice rinks, and Mark Fitch is confident that “CO2 will be around and will not be phased out and will actually get bigger and bigger as time goes on.” CO2 is a very efficient and safe refrigerant. People question CO2 because it operates at very high pressures, but Mark Fitch says that is not a big concern. “Every component is built to deal with this pressure,” he states, comparing the system to other high pressure applications in homes and apartments. If high pressure is there, the system will be built to accommodate it.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Want to know more? You don’t even need to travel to Minnesota. Watch our video or read our full case study about the STMA Ice Arena to see it for yourself. Learn about our full capabilities in our new ColdLoop™ Ice Arena Chillers Brochure.