New technology helps save money, reduce emissions

Fortis BC selected Nelson to receive a full rebate on the purchase of a vortex mechanical de-aerator devise.

New technology is helping the City of Nelson cut down on its energy costs and green house gas emissions.

Fortis BC selected Nelson to receive a full rebate on the purchase of a vortex mechanical de-aerator devise — worth around $30,000 — that will remove air molecules from the water used by the zamboni to re-surface ice at the Nelson and District Community Complex and Civic Centre arenas.

Currently, extremely hot water needs to be brought across the arena from the boiler room to fill the zamboni tank because room temperature water will create air bubbles and leave the ice surface uneven. But if the water’s cycled through the de-aerator, it’s no longer an issue.

“If you pull the air molecules from the water, you don’t have to heat the water up,” explained Fiona Galbraith, corporate climate action coordinator.

The technology is approved by the Swedish Hockey Federation and has been used in Europe for years to create better ice surfaces.

The device will be installed on the plumbing and will result in energy savings in two ways: the water going onto the ice won’t have to be heated up, and the ice surface won’t have to be kept as cool.

“It’s an easy fix,” Galbraith said. “We’ve been chipping away at the standard projects to reduce our green house gas emissions for years and it’s nice to just get a new piece of technology that will take care of some of it for us.”

Since 2010, the City of Nelson has undertaken numerous energy savings initiatives with the goal of reducing carbon emissions to 25 per cent below 2007 levels by 2015 (equivalent to saving 300 tonnes of CO2). So far there’s been a 15 per cent decrease in emissions.

Recent projects to reduce energy consumption include installing a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system at City hall that allows for individually controlled zones in the building, so specific areas can be heated or cooled instead of having the entire floor one temperature.

Also, a biogas boiler is being installed at the wastewater treatment plant that runs off the methane gas produced in the facility. The building, currently heated by propane, should emit about 60 fewer tonnes of CO2 when the project is complete.

The city is on track to meet, or even exceed, its green house gas reduction target by 2015.