May 20, 2021

Ice Arena Engineering Commissioning


Minnesota is home to nearly 300 indoor ice arenas that collectively spend millions of dollars in energy costs each year. Most arenas are community-operated, so the energy they spend — or save — has a direct impact on the people they serve.

Since the early 1990s, CEE has helped Minnesota ice arenas to save thousands of dollars in monthly utility costs. In addition to dozens of recommissioning projects to improve energy efficiency, CEE’s independent research has demonstrated potential to cost-effectively cut ice arena energy costs by an average of 30% per facility. Our work in arenas began in the early 1990s, at a time when the state of Minnesota offered “Mighty Ducks” grants to help local governments construct ice arenas. In 1995, the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources funded CEE’s study “Energy Improvements in Public Ice Arenas.” This allowed us to apply our expertise in both HVAC systems and commercial/industrial refrigeration systems to improve the energy efficiency and air quality in Minnesota’s ice arenas. As part of the study, CEE performed energy audits in 28 arenas. Today, CEE continues to provide engineering studies, recommissioning, and other services for ice arenas around the state.

Ice Arena Commissioning Examples

National Sports Center

  • Identified energy savings and opportunities to improve operational efficiency.

  • Primary systems under review were the ice-making equipment, arena heating and cooling systems, domestic hot water production, and lighting.

  • Annual savings of $96,314 

  • 997,074 kilowatt hours of electricity saved

  • 17,852 natural gas therms saved

  • 2.7 year payback 

Braemar Arena

  • CEE’s engineers partnered closely with maintenance staff to uncover new opportunities to maximize operations and cut waste

  • Identified 26 energy conservation opportunities

  • Annual savings of $101,000

  • $5,519 recommissioning rebate

  • $10,000 maximum bonus rebate achieved

  • 3 year payback

“CEE identified low-cost and no-cost opportunities to save us money through efficiency — no up-selling, just well-tested practical solutions.”

Steve Olson, Chief Operating Officer, National Sports Center