1200x400 Canlan arena energy efficiency initiative Alfa Laval

A safe, efficient and sustainable ice rink.

Three Alfa Laval innovations that are helping system builders and rink operators to transition to natural refrigerants like ammonia in their refrigeration systems.


How to reduce electricity cost in rinks: case study

An arena management company in Canada saves more than $175,000 in energy cost per year by in seven  of their rinks. This case study calculates the energy savings they were able to achieve with these steps:

  1. Replace the rink’s chiller heat exchanger with a plate and frame heat exchanger.

  2. Replace the surge drum with a more efficient and compact separator.

  3. Upgrade the reciprocating compressors to a much more energy efficient compressor.

  4. Capture and reuse the waste heat from condensers for use in seat heating, showers and Zamboni water heating.


How Canlan Ice Sports did it


Canlan Ice Sports (Canlan) manages arenas, sports facilities and dozens of sheets of ice in Canada. The article to follow calculates the energy savings achieved in the seven rinks that had these upgrades so far.

1. Change the rink’s chiller equipment to implementing Alfa Laval’s plate heat exchanger technology

By changing the Shell & Tube chiller to a more efficient Plate & Frame heat exchanger, the process is much more responsive and with a higher suction temperature from the heat exchanger, reduces the load for the compressors. Once the compressor runs at higher suction temperature the rink accomplishes energy savings of approximately 3%.

2. Change the surge drum to a more efficient and compact separator, Alfa Laval’s U-Turn

Implementing an Alfa Laval U-turn ammonia separator optimizes the evaporation process, allowing for even lower suction temperature, at the same time ensuring no carry over of liquid to the compressor in a very compact installation. This optimization gives further energy savings of 1.5%.

A secondary benefit to the Alfa Laval U-turn is improved safety , with a significantly lower ammonia charge needed in the system.

3. Upgraded the reciprocating compressors to a much more energy efficient compressor

Upgrading to a more efficient reciprocating compressor means less energy consumption per ton of refrigeration. By using a modern compressor compared to a conventional compressor, energy consumption reduces by as much as 20%.

4. Capture and reuse the waste heat from condensers for use in seat heating, showers and Zamboni water heating.
The heat rejected from the condenser is typically wasted to the atmosphere and not recovered. Instead of wasting the energy, reuse that energy to preheat water for showers, provide underfloor heating for arena seats, and to preheat Zamboni water to condition the ice sheet.

Measurable and predictable cost savings made the equipment investments possible.

What were the savings numbers realized?

Since 2015 the seven completed rink upgrades have reduced consumption by 1,000,000 kWh annually, reducing electricity costs by $175,000 each year. Canlan will implement these upgrades in many of their facilities.

Additional Benefits from the Upgrades

Apart from the cost savings, the newer equipment resulted in improved safety of the by reducing the ammonia charge of the system significantly. Using ammonia as the refrigerant, gives much lower GWP (Global Warming Potential) compared to freon refrigerants. A reduction in the foot print size of the system by using an Alfa Laval plate heat exchanger with an integrated Alfa Laval U-Turn separator, freed up significant space in the engine room.

Contact Grecia Ayala for more information on ice rink efficiency improvements and other refrigeration applications.

Watch: flooded evaporator vs. direct expansion evaporator

Talk to our Canadian Expert

Alfa Laval's Canadian expert for industrial refrigeration:

Sandeep Kumar Canada Commercial Refrigeration

Sandeep Kumar
+1 888 253 2226 Ext. 310
Email Sandeep a question.



New equipment for ammonia ice rinks

U-turn modules

An efficient and compact separator to replace surge drums in ammonia applications.

REF-Uturn M10 Image

Semi-welded heat exchangers

Semi-welded plate and frame heat exchangers that are ideal for ammonia applications.

Alfa Laval semi-welded plate heat exchangers

SmartTurn Monitors

SmartTurn® flooded ammonia chiller monitors ideal for ammonia applications.


About Alfa Laval

Alfa Laval has been operating in Canada for over 100 years. Originally operating as D-Laval, the company began by assisting Canadian farmers separate, process and store milk products. Today Alfa Laval provides equipment, components and expert service to Canadian municipalities, manufacturers, and natural resource producers.

More innovation for recreational arena systems:

The Alfa Laval Smart Heat is the first industrial desuperheater with a robust design built specifically for the demands of ice rinks. The by-product of the refrigeration system is heat. Instead of wasting the ‘free’ heat outside, why not use it where you need it?

The Alfa Laval Smart Heat will provide free heat for your showers, Zamboni water and other hot water needs at your facility. It will monitor how much energy you have recovered and calculate electricity savings.

The Alfa Laval Smart Contain is the single most effective component you can add to your system to reduce refrigeration charge. With an Alfa Laval Smart Contain, all of the refrigerant will be within the refrigeration room. Systems with a Smart Contain can lower the overall charge by 70% – reducing risk, increasing safety and improving efficiency.

The onboard intelligence will continually monitor how efficiently the unit is operating and provide early warning of issues.

The Alfa Laval Smart Turn enhances the safety of your facility by reducing the refrigerant charge.

It’s like having an employee monitoring your engine room, letting you know when it is time to drain oil, reporting fluid levels, and optimizing the suction pressures.