Cold Floor Design: The Ice Kube VS the new ice3 Cube

Cold Floor Design

Cold Floor Design

Emerald Environmental Technologies were recently in Minnesota and was asked about the original Ice Kube Systems (IKS) cold floor design, which due to its very slow exchange rates, simply didn’t perform as well as expected. Emerald Environmental Technologies recognized this problem from the beginning and set out to redesign the floor system. The iceCubes you see today produce standard flow rates resulting in truly impressive and environmentally efficient outcome.

The IKS Ice Kube Cold Floor Design

Decades ago we were first introduced to Kubes (IKS) here in the northeast at Berkshire School, the plant and cold floors were installed by Hardy Corp of Minnesota. The cold floor design was extremely different than a standard floor and  was laid out more as a continuous radiant loop. The Header manifolds were back in the Refrigeration room with individual valves on each supply and return pipe. The design for a standard NHL, 200’x85’, ice rink surface required 52 loops of tubing! At first glance this appeared to be something better than the standard in-floor header with over 1,000 fused joints. In speaking with Walter Lehman at IKS Kubes, his design had the same labor impact as there were no elbows or fittings within the floor. Fusion time was eliminated but the task of pulling these long loops was time consuming.

Back then, there were two methods of pumping to these cold floors. The first was to use the primary pumps mounted on the IKS Kubes to serve the floor directly. This had issues when only one or two Kubes were operating as flow rates dropped to 200 USGPM extending the exchange rate, consequently the ice quality suffered. The second design substituted primary/secondary pumping where smaller cold floor pumps were installed based on a glycol exchange rate of five minutes to turn over the floor as seen at Berkshire School and many other facilities throughout Canada. Like the first design, these pumps were 10 HP or less and still had exchange rate issues during heavy floods from the resurfacer. All in all, the very slow exchange rate just did not perform well.

The new  ice3 Cube Cold Radiant Floor Design

When we redesigned the ice3 Cubes, one of the first questions became –“How do you combine new technology with a high exchange rate?”

Emerald’s solution was to decouple the floor from the ice3 Cubes, lowering horsepower, and blending fluids. The ice3 Cube Decoupler was designed with a 15 HP cold floor pump to exchange the floor at a rate of 3-5 minutes on an NHL size rink. Each ice3 Cube has a dedicated 2 HP cold pump that circulates to and from the Decoupler, rather than to the floor. These two horsepower pumps only operate when ice3 Cubes are called upon and are staged from the blended decoupler tank temperature. The Cube Decoupler is much more than a fluid tank, internal piping and connections provide a truly blended fluid.

Today’s iceCube Cold Floor Design

The ice3 Cube cold floor tubing design found in dozens of locations across the east coast remains an HDPE header with a single pass. This all-fused system employs true formed U bends eliminating the double elbow design and lowering pressure loss. Reduced pressure loss allows for higher floor exchange rates at 960 USGPM during tournaments, but also allows us to slow down the now smaller 15 HP pump to 650 USGPM during low occupancy. The lower the HP, the higher the efficiency.

Emerald’s ice3 Cube design requires 5 HP to generate a flow rate of 650 USGPM.  Under normal occupancy ice3 Cube design only needs 7 ½ HP for 750 USGPM. Conventional designs require 25-40 HP to achieve the same flow rate.

It’s all about efficiency!

We all know that horsepower costs money – and lots of it.  Many of our design concepts start with the very simple challenge of eliminating horsepower wherever we can. The results have been amazing!  When Membertou Nation from Cape Brenton wanted to employ ice3 Cube technology at their new twin pad arena they did not stop at just purchasing the Cubes from Emerald. They employed the complete new floor design and decoupler. Emerald Environmental Technologies worked with the Contractor Lynk Mechanical Contracting of Sydney Nova Scotia. Lynk and their engineers visited floor projects under construction here in the states. You can imagine the look on the US construction project managers faces when Emerald was showing Canadian Engineers about the latest technology in ice rink refrigeration design.

Request a Consultation

The expert team at Emerald Environmental Technologies can help define and customize which ice3 Cube combinations are ideal for your community/municipal/outdoor, upgrade project, or collegiate rink. Emerald Environmental Technologies is based in New England and services the entire east coast up through Canada. Please contact us today to request a free consultation or Email or call 603-238-9249 with questions.