Energy-Saving Acoustic Ceilings in Ice Arenas
North Olmsted Hockey Club is equipped with an energy-efficient acoustic ceiling manufactured by MBI Products.
Ceiling heat is the most significant contributor to heat loads in an ice rink. One of the best ways to reduce radiant heat is with low emissivity (Low-E) ceiling panels, whose primary function is to block radiant energy emitted from the ceiling. By drastically reducing the amount of heat radiated back to the ice, the facility's refrigeration system can be moderated, creating greater energy efficiency while maintaining the ice.
This facility is just one of the 4400+ indoor ice rinks across the U.S. and Canada that must provide optimal conditions to the continent’s 1.1 million hockey players and other ice sport athletes. Maintaining quality ice, including its ideal thickness, smoothness, and proper temperature, has unique challenges.
According to Ice-World International, the ice temperature must be between -10 °C and -3 °C. The ideal temperature varies from sport to sport:
- Figure skating: – 4.5 °C to -3 °C
- Ice hockey: -5.5 °C to -3 °C
- Short track: -5.5 °C to -3 °C
- Curling: -6 °C to -3 °C
- Long-distance skating: -10 °C to -6 °C
Keeping the ice cold requires controlling the ambient temperature and addressing building elements that generate heat in a rink’s arena: solar heat, ceiling lighting, spectators, and other heat in the building. The refrigeration required to overcome these factors is extensive — and expensive. In fact, refrigeration generates the highest operating cost within the overall energy consumption in an ice arena.
According to a study of ice rinks in Sweden, 43% of their operating costs is attributed to refrigeration systems, occupying the largest share of total energy consumption in these facilities.  Heating is the second biggest energy consumer, followed by lighting, ventilation fans, and dehumidification systems.
Running refrigeration systems at full capacity is required simply to keep the ice from melting. However, there are ways to mitigate certain heat-producers in the arena’s interior space to remove some of the burden on these systems. A key solution lies in an acoustic ceiling.
MBI Products’ Low Emissivity Acoustic Ceiling Solution
Reducing radiant ceiling heat cuts down on ceiling condensation and drip and decreases the energy usage required for refrigeration. The MBI Low-E Lapendary® Panel achieves this objective, lowering the facility’s operating costs while improving overall ice quality — and acoustically correcting the space. In addition, the Low-E facing of an acoustic ceiling improves lighting levels and appearance, making for an even more aesthetically enjoyable experience.
Along with substantially greater energy efficiency, Low-E panels achieve an R-13 insulation value and give a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.80, as shown in the data below.
“The combination of the Low-E Lapendary Panels’ R-value, low emissivity, and energy-reducing quality amounts to an efficient, acoustic ceiling unlike any other. We’re proud to be able to offer this multi-feature solution to our clients who are building or retrofitting ice arenas and are looking for greener solutions, ” says MBI Products’ Vice President of Sales, Chuck Splain.
Low-E Lapendary panels rest on cables stretched on 4-foot centers, giving the acoustic ceiling a very clean and uniform appearance.
MBI’s Low-E Lapendary acoustic ceilings transform an ordinary facility into a hosting venue for large-scale, national events where speech communication is critical, e.g., figure skating championships. The ceiling is attractive, effective, and can elevate an ice rink to premier arena status.
Partnering with MBI to invest in an acoustic ceiling is like working with a trusted friend. We are confident, experienced, and advocate for our customers’ best interest with contractors and installers.
If you have questions about acoustic ceilings or MBI’s Low-E Lapendary Panels, please contact our friendly sound experts today.
 Karampour M. Measurement and modeling of ice rink heat loads. Master of Science Thesis. KTH School of Industrial Engineering and Management Energy Technology, Stockholm, Sweden; 2011,p.18.