Clifton Park ice arena to undergo energy audit

The town-owned Clifton Park Ice Arena, which opened in 1989, will be the subject of a comprehensi


The town-owned Clifton Park Ice Arena, which opened in 1989, will be the subject of a comprehensive energy audit over the next two months to see if the town can save money on its ice chilling and electrical systems.

The Town Board has agreed to pay $6,000 of a $12,000 energy audit that will be done by an energy engineer from Malcolm Pirnie Inc. of Latham.

The rest of the energy audit will be paid for by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), according to town officials.

“What can we do to improve the facility to improve its energy efficiency?” asked Town Supervisor Philip Barrett about the indoor ice arena in Clifton Common.

Barrett said, for example, the chiller, which freezes the ice surface in the rink, is 20 years old.

“We are very interested in replacing the old chiller with a new one,” Barrett said.

“The chiller [at the arena] is the original one,” Barrett said. “It’s a main piece of equipment.”

The Town Board also wants to investigate the possible use of photovoltaic panels on the arena’s roof to provide the facility with solar energy.

The audit is being done as part of NYSERDA’s Flexible-Technical Assistance program called FlexTech.

NYSERDA has contracted with a number of qualified energy auditing firms that provide engineering feasibility and technical assistance studies. One of these is Malcolm Pirnie, which the Town Board agreed to hire at the Feb. 16 board meeting.

The audit will look at all of the ice arena’s systems to see if the town could save money, in the long run, by replacing these systems.

Town officials hope to receive the audit report within the next two months. The town would then consider the recommendations and the pay-back period if energy improvements are made.

The energy audit is required if the town plans to seek state and federal energy-saving grants to improve the ice arena.

Barrett said the ice arena operated at a loss for a decade after it opened.

But since 2002, when town resident Scott Bobrow started managing the facility, it has shown a total accumulated profit of more than $150,000, according to Barrett.

In addition to operating the town ice rink, Bobrow paid the town $450,000 in 2001 to build and own a second, connected indoor ice rink in Clifton Common.

“We needed expertise to run an ice arena,” Barrett said. He said the town did not have the expertise to run the rink as efficiently as Bobrow has.

The rink is the scene of interscholastic hockey games as well as hockey tournaments and is the home of Clifton Park Youth Hockey.

“Last year was a record year,” Barrett said about the arena’s finances. He said the Town Board’s decision to allow Bobrow’s Arena Management Company to manage both rinks was controversial when it was made nearly a decade ago.

The town has regularly invested money in the rink to keep it up-to-date. For example, in 2006 the Town Board renovated the locker rooms in the ice arena, including sinks, benches, a new ventilation system and repainting.

That same year the town also replaced the boards around the rink’s perimeter.

Categories: Schenectady County

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