Solar radiation heat is the main heat radiation in ice arenas. Nearly 30% of the total refrigeration load in heated rinks is radiated from the arena ceiling. The temperature, colour and emissivity index of the inner surface of the ceiling are the main causes of the radiation thermal load to the ice rink. Common materials used for ceilings (wood, steel, etc.), have an emissivity index (EM) of between 0.85 <e< 0.95. Emissivity describes a material’s ability to radiate heat. Perfect radiating materials have an Emissivity (EM) of 1.0. Materials that radiate no heat have an EM of 0.
Radiant heat migrates from a warm surface in an arena to a cold surface, the heat load radiates from the ceiling to the ice surface. Reducing the EMs of the arena ceiling has a large impact on the load on the ice plant, reducing energy costs and providing better ice conditions.
Low emissivity ceilings offer energy savings while being flexible for individual building shapes. The emissivity factor can reach 0.03, which vastly reduces roof radiation.
Operations costs are saved as the volume of the space is reduced and radiation heat is prevented. Inside the cavity, humidity and temperature can be altered by opening the skylight. Piping can be arranged to ensure the picturesque top portion for competition.
High emissivity indices increase the refrigeration load by promoting radiation heat transfer from the ceiling to the ice surface. Low-emissivity ceilings can also help to boost illumination levels and reduce ceiling condensation.
With any infrastructure upgrades and assessment should be done to determine a business case. Generally, any rink that operate into the shoulder season would reap benefits from low-e ceilings, where as in some cases in cold climates and with rinks that only operate during the winter month, low e ceilings might not be as cost effective.
The quality of the installation is important. Poor installation can lead to moisture issues occurring to the structure above the material.
Benefits of low E ceiling:
- Reduction in refrigeration system consumption.
- Lighting power demand is reduced as the reflectivity of low-emissivity ceilings allow for the same brightness.
- Reduction of condensation on the building structure.
- Arena acoustics are improved.
- Overall improved building aesthetics.
- Helps dry out and eliminate existing damp conditions.
- Improve ice quality – hard and consistent ice sheet.
- Electricity consumption can be reduced by approximately 77,000 kWh per year.
- BC Hydro Conservation: Excellent Ice, Surrey, BC
- City of Burnaby saves $82,500 annually from changes at rinks
More ways to tighten your building envelope