Moving beyond fossil fuels
The AMPED facility caters to elite athletic training, as well as recovery and treatment of injuries or chronic problems. It houses a physiotherapy clinic, a gym and a 120’ by 65’ ice rink – a perfect size for skills development and custom training for hockey players of all ages.
To earn the ZCB-Performance certification, Modern Niagara took an aggressive path and targeted all mechanical systems that consumed natural gas, and consequently emitted carbon into the atmosphere – including the ice rink dehumidifier, the hot water heater, and the rooftop air handling units.
All fossil fuel consumption related to building energy use was eliminated on-site and converted to electric-based alternatives. To achieve their goal, custom-designed and built rooftop units (RTUs) were manufactured with heat pumps and electric heat backup instead of the traditional direct expansion (DX) coil and gas-fired burner. The ice arena dehumidification system was also retrofitted with a unique, custom-built liquid dessicant air-conditioned unit, equipped with refrigeration DX system reheat. These custom units helped to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while also providing the highest possible efficiency.
To better manage building performance, including the ice-making process, a robust automation and metering system was installed. Used in combination with a real-time analytics software package, it optimizes building and process control and performance, enhances maintenance services, and assists in the continuous commissioning of the facility in order to ensure energy savings persist.
The Chiller system that is used to make ice for the rink also had an energy optimization automation system installed to ensure run times and sequencing are automatically adjusted to drive efficiencies. Heat reclaim from the Ammonia-based chiller was considered however the return on investment was excessive for the low amount of high-temperature heat available.
Lighting systems were retrofitted to high-efficiency LED, and to provide clean electricity a 136 kW solar photovoltaic array was installed.
A first for ice arenas everywhere
Modern Niagara’s approach to sustainability led them to the Zero Carbon Building Standard. As an organization, they saw ZCB-Performance certification as a way to demonstrate the importance of GHG reductions while improving energy efficiency. The project targeted a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency and a 70 per cent reduction in carbon emissions. While the approach can lead to slightly higher utility operating cost today, the project was able to reduce exposure to rising carbon prices, and significantly reduce climate impacts—a key factor for the Modern Niagara team.
“Other types of certifications tend to focus only on energy efficiency, but do not adequately capture the cost to the environment,” said McAninch. “The Zero Carbon Building Standard helps us meaningfully contribute to our sustainability goals and reduces our impact on the environment, which is important to our organization and staff. We expect this project will increase tenant satisfaction and provide unique education opportunities around zero carbon buildings.”
What we have accomplished at AMPED Sports Lab and Ice Complex represents a step towards building a more sustainable future. Converting AMPED into the world’s first Zero Carbon Building – Performance certified arena is an achievement and a great opportunity for Canada’s infrastructure.
— Brad McAninch, CEO, Modern Niagara Group Inc.