Enbridge, the Canadian energy delivery company, has announced a program for its ice arena customers in Ontario. They’re offering an incentive of $5,000 per ice sheet for their natural gas customers who install ice resurfacing technologies to eliminate the need for using hot water to make ice. REALice is one of those technologies.

The program, which was kicked off on September 26th, 2016 will run until March 31st, 2017. According to the brochure, “limited incentive funds are available and will be offered to customers on a first-come, first-served basis.”

REALice is a device that removes the micro air bubbles from the water, taking the place of needing to use extremely hot water. The water is heated – sometimes as high as 180 degrees F – to remove the micro air bubbles that are in the water. If you don’t understand what those micro air bubbles are, look at a pan of water the next time you put it on the stove. You’ll see tiny air bubbles clinging to the sides and bottom of the pan and, as the water gets warmer, they are pushed to the surface and evaporate. Those tiny air bubbles create ice that is fragile and creates a lot of snow – not the kind of ice you want to skate on..

REALice is able to save more energy than just not needing to heat that water up anymore. It reduces the amount of work the ice plant needs to do, not needing to remove so much heat once that water hits the ice. Those savings, which are hydro for most rinks, are also eligible for incentives through the SaveONEnergy program.

Indoor ice arenas are definite high energy consumers and an immediate way to reduce that energy spend is to find an alternative to hot water in the ice making process. Florian Gabriel from REALice Canada says average natural gas savings for an arena using REALice is 79% and the electricity savings are 12%. Those are real savings, which also represent a reduction in the carbon emissions a typical indoor ice arena is responsible for, which Gabriel estimates is 50 tonnes a year.

With a carbon emission tax now a sure part of Canada’s future, every tonne saved today will make a difference to both public and private arenas going forward. That, together with the unspent energy costs that REALice brings, are two good reasons why arenas should be turning off the hot resurfacing water for good.

For more information, call Enbridge at 1-866-844-9994 or email them at energysolutions@enbridge.com.