A $4.45 million project is underway to upgrade Prince George’s three arena ice surfaces at the Kin Centre and make them safer and more energy efficient.
Work began April 17 to replace the ammonia refrigeration plant that serves the three rinks and install equipment to recover heat from the chilling process to be used heat the building.
Currently Kin 1, Kin 2 and Kin 3 all operate using a single chiller system, with each rink having its own refrigeration unit. The new design will have two chiller systems that serve all three arenas with built-in redundancy in the event one of the units breaks down.
The provincial government changed regulations for ammonia use in ice refrigeration after an ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena killed three workers on Oct. 17, 2017. The new chillers will meet safety recommendations as determined by Technical Safety BC.
When complete, by Aug. 28, the project is expected to reduce the ammonia charge going into to the condensers by close to 70 per cent and cut natural gas heating consumption by close to 77 per cent.
The upgraded plant will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 323 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, a 73 per cent reduction compared to what the former plant emitted.
The project will reduce annual water consumption by an estimated 2.85 million litres, equivalent to a 50-metre swimming pool.
The new system is expected to save the city roughly $20,000 per year in operational costs.
Cost of the project will be shared – federal grant (40 per cent - $1.78 million), provincial grant (33.33 per cent, $1.50 million), with the city covering 26.67 per cent ($1.2 million).