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Sharks show commitment to sustainability with new refrigeration system

SAP Center shift to Opteon latest example of organization's environmental approach

by NHL Green

The San Jose Sharks always have strived for best-in-class performance on and off the ice.

This sentiment holds true for their home, SAP Center, which has achieved numerous industry awards through the years for excelling in their mission to operate a world-class sports and entertainment business.

That success reflects a responsibility to being leaders in their local community and serves as a testament to a commitment to prioritize forward-thinking innovation and advance foundational values like environmental sustainability. 

Replacing the arena's refrigeration system was the most recent case study in how San Jose Sharks and Entertainment upholds its commitments while ensuring performance was not compromised.

"When we needed to upgrade the refrigeration systems at the venue, we had a variety of options, but landed on Opteon," said Jon Gustafson, Vice President & General Manager, San Jose Sharks. "Through installation, startup and initial ice making and return to play, the performance of Opteon has met or exceeded our expectations. With the environment top of mind, we went with Opteon because it's a proven solution that had the best balance our organization was looking for."

Opteon, the preferred refrigerant of the NHL, is a non-ozone depleting and low global warming potential (GWP) solution that offers an environmentally and economically sustainable solution to make high-quality ice in professional and community rinks across North America. SAP Center is the second NHL arena to install an Opteon ice refrigeration system following Ball Arena, home of the Colorado Avalanche, was the first NHL arena to deploy the innovation. 

"We are proud to work with the San Jose Sharks and Trane Technologies to provide a safer, more sustainable arena for players, fans and the surrounding community," Alisha Bellezza, President of Thermal & Specialized Solutions at Chemours said. "Chemours is committed to supporting NHL and community rinks alike with our Opteon refrigerants."

The upgrade was a win-win for the Sharks, for their community and, ultimately, for the planet.

"With various refrigerant options to consider when replacing their aging system, the forward-thinking San Jose Sharks chose to be a leader in their community, years ahead of 2024, when facilities in California replacing ice plant and HVAC chillers will need to choose a refrigerant with less than 750 Global Warming Potential (GWP)," said Chuck Allgood, Refrigerants Technology Leader with Chemours. "Opteon will hopefully ensure that the Sharks remain at the top of the game for years to come."

The NHL's partnership with Chemours continues to inspire environmental progress in the sports community through educating owners and operators about the importance of transitioning to low-GWP refrigerant solutions that are non-ozone depleting. And, adoption of Opteon continues to expand in professional and community rinks across North America.

"It's truly remarkable to see the Sharks showcase leadership in their local community by continuing to embed sustainability in their DNA and adopting innovations like Opteon," said Omar Mitchell, NHL vice president of sustainable growth and infrastructure. "I am proud that our clubs are leading by example and our League partners are helping them along their journey to become more sustainable."

Video: Opteon, NHL partner on sustainable ice technology

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