The Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth, Minnesota, is a privately owned and operated ice skating arena that operates year-round. It services 120,000 patrons a year, including college and high school hockey teams, the Duluth figure skating club, and the general public.

The rink had been supporting a full-size ice sheet with its original 1999 flooded chiller system, charged with 1,750 pounds of R-22. Although the system ran for some time without needing to have refrigerant added, potential for a leak in the future required that more R-22 be added to the system. This could get costly, given the pending phaseout of R-22. So the arena partnered with SCR and The Chemours Co. to discuss a retrofit.

The converted DX chiller system runs on a non-ozone depleting, low-GWP refrigerant from Chemours called Opteon™ XP40, or R-449A. The refrigerant is an HFO blend that has zero ODP and provides a 23 percent reduction in GWP over R-22.

The new system is charged with 950 pounds of R-449A, which provides some up-front cost savings to the rink and the contractor because they’re buying less refrigerant. The new system requires less manual maintenance, and its footprint in the mechanical room is smaller. In the event of a leak, there would be a lower risk of environmental impact because there is less overall refrigerant.

Finally, the total climate impact potential of the system goes down, not only because of the lower GWP of the refrigerant and the fact that there is less of it, but also because the new system uses less energy. Mars Lakeview Arena saw an average reduction in its facility’s electrical usage of 16 percent in the six months immediately following the refrigeration system upgrades, compared to the previous year.


Publication date: 5/17/2019

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