Michigan Tech Ice Rink Goes Green

Question: What can make both ice and heat and reduce Michigan Technological University’s carbon footprint while doing so?

Answer: Michigan Tech’s new ice-making system at the John J. MacInnes Student Ice Arena.  The ammonia brine-based system not only makes ice for the hockey rink, it heats the rink’s sub-floor, preventing frost from forming under the insulated concrete slab.  Heat generated as the ammonia is compressed to be used as a refrigerant heats 100 percent of the hot water used in the arena and maintains a comfortable water temperature for the nearby swimming pool and dive tank.

Michigan Tech replaced its ice-making system last summer, removing the building’s original Freon 22 direct system and installing an ammonia brine indirect system.

“What you have is the most environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient system available,” said Mark Rodorigo, owner and CEO of Commercial Refrigeration of Virginia, Minn., which did the initial installation of the new system. “We replaced the Freon R-22, which is an ozone-depleting chemical, with anhydrous ammonia, an all-natural substance. Plus, we’re reclaiming the waste heat. You have reduced your carbon footprint tremendously.”
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