The aging ammonia chiller plant at Ron Gorr Memorial Arena in Torrington, Alberta, increasingly concerned Kneehill County leaders for safety and reliability reasons. The seasonal-use arena serves as a popular hub for Torrington residents and surrounding communities. The facility features a skating rink, two sheet curling rinks and a banquet hall.
Beyond the aging chiller’s unreliable performance and its increasing operational costs, the chiller generated a significant safety risk. Leaked ammonia mixed with air that reaches the 16 to 25 percent range can cause an explosion capable of leveling an entire building.1 Depending on exposure levels, ammonia can cause blindness, lung damage or even death2. Unfortunately, limited storage space forced the facilities staff to be exposed to the ammonia chiller plant regularly.
Ready to work with a new energy services company for its next chiller, Kneehill County leaders turned to Trane to help them address key objectives while tackling cost, comfort, safety and environmental issues. County leaders selected Trane’s proposal to replace the existing chiller with a system that uses a sustainable refrigerant and can also be housed outside. This solution would help county leaders optimize resources, improve comfort and reliability, reduce energy costs and address environmental, and safety issues.
The project team demolished the existing ammonia chiller plant and poured a new chiller pad outdoors next to the existing building. The existing chiller plant room now serves as much-needed storage space for the facility.
The project team then placed the new (ammonia-free) Trane CGAM air-cooled 80-ton chiller on the existing chiller pad, now located outside. Prior to starting up the new chiller, the project team relocated the existing electrical service connection, and added new updated electrical panels and lighting. They prepared the existing system to connect to the new chiller, removing the brine solution and flushing existing lines, paving the way for the new 40-percent glycol solution.
The new chiller’s full-load and part-load energy efficiency exceeds ASHRAE 90.1 and reduces operating costs. The chiller features all major service components close to the edge for safer and easier maintenance. A five-year warranty, covering labor, parts and refrigerant, provides extra peace of mind for the arena facilities team.
The arena has reduced its energy costs, lowering its electrical bill by more than 20 percent while cutting maintenance costs. The upgrade optimized comfort while significantly addressing reliability, environmental, and especially safety issues for the operations team, other staff and visitors. The improvements increased peace of mind for county leaders and community residents alike.