Finland’s first smart technology cooling system at Ylöjärvi ice arena

Coordinator Venla Riekkinen from Finnish Environment Institute and CEO of Ylöjärven Jäähalli Oy (Ylöjärvi ice arena) Rami Honkala. © Tiina Helminen-Savonjousi, the City of Ylöjärvi

Ylöjärven Jäähalli Oy (Ylöjärvi ice arena) was awarded a Hinku award in September. Ylöjärvi ice arena is Finland’s first ice stadium with an environmentally friendly, digitally steered direct expansion cooling system that uses CO2 as the refrigerant. This new technology is predicted to consume up to 30-40% less energy than those using traditional technologies. The intelligent steering system ensures that the ice stadium has appropriate conditions and the best possible energy efficiency.

Ice arena emissions reduced

Ylöjärvi ice arena switched from high greenhouse effect refrigerants to an environmentally friendly CO2-based refrigerant. With the new system its greenhouse effect is almost 4,000 times smaller than with the old refrigerant. For example, a one-kilogram leak of the new refrigerant is equivalent to the emissions from driving a car 12 kilometres, whereas the same size leak of the old refrigerant is equivalent to the emissions of driving a car a whopping 47,000 kilometres. 47,000 kilometres is the equivalent of driving twice around China and still once around Finland. The new CO2 -based refrigerant ensures a safe and healthy exercise environment.

An energy efficient system and smart technology improve conditions in the arena

Better energy efficiency is achieved with the ice arena’s direct expansion cooling system, compared to the traditional system, where a separate heat transferring solution is circulated in track pipes. In addition to electricity savings, the CO2-based cooling system allows for efficient heat recovery, thus also meeting the property’s heating needs. At the same time, the quality of the ice has also improved.

Ylöjärvi ice arena’s intelligent digital steering technology ensures appropriate conditions and the best possible energy efficiency given the circumstances. For example, the temperature of the ice is set according to the need (for ice-hockey games, figure skating, practice and stand-by). Additionally, the heat recovery is steered intelligently, and the heat produced directed to the places where it is needed at any given time. The energy and lifecycle costs of the entire property are minimised thanks to the smart steering system.

To be the first in Finland to choose this digitally-steered high-tech system shows how Ylöjärvi is committed to building a pleasant and environmentally friendly living environment. In this way, Ylöjärvi is setting an example for other ice arenas in Finland in becoming more energy efficient and user-friendly.

Riku Siren, chief development officer, City of Ylöjärvi

A significant investment into a popular ice arena

There are two ice rinks at the Ylöjärvi ice arena, built in 1999, and its utilisation rate is one of the highest in the Pirkanmaa Region. Renovations started with planning already in the summer of 2016, and were finished in September 2019. In addition to the cooling system, the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system was also renewed during the renovation.

The investment cost was in the range of several hundred thousand euros, with an estimated payback period of around ten years. The project was funded by a loan guaranteed by the owner of Ylöjärven jäähalli Oy’s (Ylöjärvi ice arena), the City of Ylöjärvi, and received energy aid from Business Finland. The energy aid covered around 30 per cent of the cost of the whole project. The renovation project was carried out by Huurre Finland Oy.

From the start we wanted to find a solution that was innovative and futuristic, rather than yesterday’s news. In addition to being innovative, the main procurement criteria were low lifecycle costs, energy efficiency and eco-friendliness.

Rami Honkala, CEO of Ylöjärven Jäähalli (Ylöjärvi ice arena)

Ylöjärvi part of the Hinku network and Canemure project

The City of Ylöjärvi joined the Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities (Hinku) network by decision of the city council in February 2019, supporting the Tampere City Region’s decision to join efforts to reduce emissions. The Hinku network’s main goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 2007 levels by 2030. Remaining emissions should be bound to carbon sinks and compensated for.

The Pirkanmaa Region is one of the seven regions taking part in the EU Life IP CANEMURE (Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities and Regions) project, coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute (Syke), which promotes climate change mitigation. In Pirkanmaa, the Canemure project is jointly funded by the ELY Centre and Council of Tampere Region, which is coordinating the project regionally. Furthermore, one of the Canemure sub-projects is concentrated on developing sustainable mobility solutions in the Tampere City Region.

More information:

CEO Rami Honkala, Ylöjärven Jäähalli Oy (Ylöjärvi ice arena),

Head of Refrigeration Automation Business Unit Jukka Hellman, Huurre Finland Oy,

Actors and projects

The leap archive of project Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities (Hinku).

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