Local ice hockey rinks in the United States and Canada have been staples of communities for decades. They are places for families, kids and adults to start or continue their love for hockey.
However, many of these rinks are facing the reality that their old refrigeration systems are either outdated, expensive to operate or not future-proof.
One of these community rinks, located in Saint-Raymond, 39 miles northwest of Quebec City and appropriately named Saint Raymond Arena, was searching for an upgrade to their existing refrigeration system. In addition to the reasons listed above, the current, outdated system was being phased out by the government under environmental and safety concerns.
The NHL and The Chemours Company partnered to provide Saint Raymond Arena a sustainable new refrigerant system. By Jan. 1, 2020, production of R-22, an HCFC refrigerant used broadly in refrigeration and air conditioning will be phased out under the Montreal Protocol because of its ozone depletion potential (ODP) and high global warming potential (GWP).
Enter Opteon™, the official refrigerant solution of the NHL from The Chemours Company, and a sustainable refrigerant solution for ice refrigeration chiller systems. After doing their diligence on multiple refrigerant systems, Saint Raymond decided that the Opteon™ line of hydrofluoroolefin (HFO)-based refrigerants was the best option for their chiller retrofit because it offered a safe, reliable and cost-effective solution for their community.
Video: NHL, Chemours give local rink sustainable upgrades
Trane, one of the world's leading heating, ventilation, air condition and cooling (HVAC) equipment providers, provided the turn-key chiller solution for the rink operators.
"The arena is very important here in Saint-Raymond, we have a lot of young people using it, and adults," Saint-Raymond mayor Daniel Dion said. "Many leagues use the arena. It's used all the time, seven days a week."
The Saint Raymond rink is among a growing number of ice arenas in the province and across North America that are prioritizing the balance of safety and cost while meeting system efficiency and environmental sustainability considerations.
"The arena is the center of interest. It's important to me, my kids, and the community in general," St. Raymond hockey coach Jean Alain said.
For their efforts, Chemours was recently recognized by the American Chemistry Council with an award in the "Societal Contributions" category pertaining to Opteon™, the company's portfolio of HFO-based, low global warming potential refrigerants solutions that deliver the optimal balance of performance, safety and environmental sustainability for chillers, commercial refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps.
It is estimated that by the end of 2019, the replacement of legacy mobile refrigerants with HFO technology like Opteon™ will have resulted in a reduction of nearly 68 million tons of carbon dioxide, an equivalent to taking approximately 15 million cars off the road.
Ultimately, it all comes down to the sustainability of the game and ensuring hockey thrives for future generations.;
"The quality of the ice is very important, and we need to be sure the [ice refrigeration] system is working well," Dion said. "We invest a lot of money as a city in the arena, to maintain the arena. That's why we need a good system."