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Ducks practice facility incorporates latest environmental technology

LED lighting, recycling wastewater among tools, methods used at Great Park Ice

by William Douglas @WDouglasNHL / Staff Writer

Lorraine Ferry loves the family-friendly atmosphere at Great Park Ice, the new $110 million practice facility for the Anaheim Ducks.

"If I have to do homework with my one child while the other one is on the ice, it's a much more inviting environment at Great Park than it is at other rinks," said Ferry, whose four children play hockey at the facility in Irvine, California. "The inside of that rink facility is user-friendly for people waiting as well as the outside."

Ferry also appreciates the environmentally friendly features built into the 280,000-square foot, four-rink facility, the largest ice facility in California, which began operations late last year.

"Doing environmentally-friendly things isn't always cheap, so it's nice that they still factored that into what they were going to do so that when you look at what that [environmental] footprint is going to be in years to come, they're reducing the footprint for what our kids are going to have to deal with in the future," she said.

From using recycled water to make ice to electric-powered ice resurfacing machines to charging stations for electric-powered vehicles and drought-resistant landscaping, Great Park Ice employs the latest tools and methods to create a greener ice facility.

"It's the state-of-the art design for an ice rink," said Deryl Robinson, vice president and senior construction manager for Griffin Structures, the development manager for the project.

So much so that Great Park Ice is pending LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification by the United States Green Building Council. The nonprofit group grades facilities based on innovation, indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, as well as other criteria.

There are approximately 4,800 indoor ice rinks across North America with an average age of more than 30 years. The NHL, through its NHL Greener Rinks Initiative, seeks to highlight the benefits of adopting sustainable practices to further the future success of local rinks, from old barns to gleaming new facilities like Great Park Ice.

Energy-saving LED lights, with environmental controls to further minimize energy consumption, illuminate Great Park Ice, financially supported by the Samueli Foundation (Henry and Susan Samueli own the Ducks) and the Anaheim Ducks Foundation -- with no tax dollars.

Recycled wastewater from California's Irvine Ranch Water District is used to make and maintain Great Park's ice sheets, saving an estimated 4.3 million gallons of drinking water annually and saving the facility about $4,700 a year in water costs.

After hockey and skating sessions, the ice sheets are cleaned by four electric-powered Zamboni ice resurfacing machines, dramatically helping reduce carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels inside rinks. The resurfacing units arrived in Irvine after being used at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Great Park Ice employs co-generation strategies in ice making and space conditioning. For example, waste heat from the chillers (refrigeration equipment) is recycled to help with dehumidification and reheat coils under the rinks to prevent the ground underneath from freezing.

"Instead of letting your exhaust from the chillers go out into the atmosphere and running a boiler to create the heat you need, you're capturing the heat off the chillers and then recycling it back into the building," Robinson said.

Outside, there are plenty of bicycle racks, bike lockers and charging stations for electric-powered vehicles, which have become popular energy-efficient alternatives in a state where the average price of regular gasoline hovers around $4 per gallon.

"They have so much parking, and rechargeable parking; you don't see that anywhere else," Ferry said. "For a lot of people, it's a big deal. They're driving in [Los Angeles] traffic and they need to recharge. If you're there, they're being used on a regular basis."

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