Special Project Highlight:

MacDonald-Miller’s relationship with Sno-King started with our service department when we became their maintenance provider. After the initial maintenance, we identified that their older equipment was creating significant cost in terms of emergency repairs and soft ice. The chiller team discussed the system’s deficiencies and the idea of replacing it with something more efficient and reliable. Ice rinks are unique as there are two glycol loops that need to be controlled – a 48°F subfloor loop above the dirt to prevent permafrost and a 14°F loop to build/maintain the ice.

Sno-King is a non-profit Hockey Association committed to today’s youth, and the organization has limited funding. With this in mind, MacMiller began looking at options for a reliable chiller plant within their price range. The price tag for a conventional built-up refrigeration system was too costly, so we thought outside the box. The solution was to use a York air cooled scroll chiller with an added desuperheater heat exchanger. The evaporator portion of the chiller makes the 14°F glycol for the ice a the compressor discharge gas creates the 48°F subfloor heat. Now, the wasted condenser heat is used to heat the subfloor loop instead of using a boiler.

The key to this job was minimizing down time as an ice arena gains revenue solely from providing ice time. Sno-King asked if we could take the ice down at 11pm Sunday and have the new ice available for skating that Friday. The answer was, “YES we can!”

Scott Soncrant started work at 6pm on a Sunday, removed all the glycol and refrigerant, and worked through to the next morning. This work needed to be accomplished before Lou Gitchell and Michael Fifes’ teams arrived at 6am for the crane pick. All the equipment was removed, and the new equipment was in place by Monday afternoon with the piping/electrical following. Not only did we accommodate the short schedule, but an ice rink professional from All Star Arenas told Sno-King, “You are lucky to have this contractor as most couldn’t pull this off.”

With the project performing so well, we were asked to bid the new ice arena being built in Snoqualmie, WA. As our approach saved Sno-King a huge initialcost, we were indeed awarded the Snoqualmie project, too!


A SPECIAL THANKS – To the awesome team that made it happen.

Jason Zembrycki, SPTI Pipefitting Superintendent, for supplying the labor and material budgets to build a proposal.

Mike Pinchin, SPTI Pipefitting Foreman, for helping work through the setbacks before starting the job.

Todd Zeller, Chiller Team Foreman, for adding the desuperheater to the chiller before installation as the factory couldn’t meet the deadline.

Scott Soncrant, Chiller Team Journeyman, for working all Sunday night and most of the next day to stay onschedule, along with following the project from the beginning to end.

Lou Gitchell and Fitting Crew, for working with limited information and a short deadline.

Greg Sukraw and Mike Fife, for finding a solution to the non-compliant building electrical. Without their solution, the job wouldn’t have started during the bi-annual shutdown.

Art Joseph, Lead Engineer, for learning how ice rinks work and building a design that works perfectly.

Categories: General

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