Kamloops saved nearly $50,000 last year after innovating with Zambonis | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops saved nearly $50,000 last year after innovating with Zambonis

The Zamboni at the Memorial Arena will be the next to switch to using cold water only.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Memorial Arena
January 06, 2020 - 6:30 AM

Trying to keep operational costs down and sustainability in mind can be a tricky thing for a city, but the Tournament Capital of Canada has found a way to save around $50,000 in a simple switch of the taps.

The City of Kamloops has switched from using hot to cold water in their Zambonis which service four of the city’s ice rinks. Jeff Putnam, the City’s parks and civic facilities manager, says Kamloops is the only city he knows of which has committed to making the change in their various rinks.

“There are some other communities that are experimenting with it, but I’m not aware of any communities in western Canada that are doing it through all of the rinks, so that could be unique to Kamloops,” Putnam says. “A few years ago we did an experiment with I believe Brock Arena first and it was so successful we’ve ramped it up even more, so by the end of this year we had four arenas on line with cold water floods and we’re going to add another one in 2020 as well.”

The results might be of interest to many other cities. In 2019, four Kamloops ice rinks were flooded using cold water rather than hot. The water was previously heated using natural gas boilers and pumped into the Zambonis. Since the switch, the natural gas the City has saved is equivalent to 1,807 gigajoules, saving the City $48,900.

“Initially we didn’t tell anyone we were doing the pilot project because we didn’t want to taint our results with preconceived notions that the ice didn’t have the same quality, so we didn’t actually tell anyone the first year we did it and there was no change in perception or use, no one even noticed we made the change,” Putnam says.

Putnam notes that some people may believe that hot water, which is traditionally used in Zambonis, creates a better surface. He says some of the worries around using cold water, such as air bubbles or lower quality ice, are no concern for the river city.

“The only time when there’s concerns is with water quality, but we don't have to worry about that with Kamloops,” Putnam says. “We’ve got a state of the art water plant so there’s no impurities in it, so that didn’t affect it at all.”

Currently, the Brocklehurst Arena, Valleyview Arena and two ice sheets at the McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre are using cold water only for ice resurfacing. Putnam says the next arena to see this change will be the Memorial Arena in the fall of this year.

The only cost for implementing this project was putting spigots on the hot water valves so no one at the arenas would accidentally use hot water. Putnam says that it cost less than $1,000 to install at the four rinks.

The switch is a part of the City’s 2019 to 2022 Strategic Plan plan, which aims to reduce Kamloops’ carbon footprint, among other goals. Read more about the Strategic Plan here.

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