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Customer Stories

Energy-Efficiency: Ice Rink at Complexe Sportif

December 14, 2021

Project Highlights

Location: Quebec, CA

Industry: Ice Rink

Products Used: Chillers, Controls,

Topic: Ice Rinks, Energy Services,

Complexe Sportif Trane hero.jpg


As plans were being developed for Complexe Sportif Trane, the facility owner sought to build an arena with a mechanical system that would provide reliable operation, be safe for customers, simple to maintain and economically viable.


The Complexe Sportif Trane owner contacted Trane regarding equipment for the new facility. Trane, the only established manufacturer offering a conventional water-cooled chiller capable of operating at ice rink conditions, presented the RTWD chiller as a unique solution to meet the ice rink facility’s needs. The owner showed interest in the chiller, but wanted to see proof of the system’s capabilities. Trane organized a site visit to one of the many arenas that had been operating Trane chillers in similar conditions for over fifteen years. Gaining confidence in the approach, the sports complex owner moved forward with the project, installing a 250-ton water-cooled RTWD Helical Rotary Chiller for the ice rink, combined with a matching dry cooler.

Making safety a top priority
Guest and employee safety was a key consideration in the chiller selection. When using CO2 or ammonia, if an issue occurred, evacuation of the facility would be required and service would need to be done by specially-trained technicians. The Trane RTWD chiller uses 134A refrigerant, reducing safety concerns and allowing service to be performed by any professional HVAC technician. In addition, Trane’s typical installation uses a close circuit dry cooler that eliminates the risk of legionella compared to other systems using an open cooling tower for heat rejection.

Lowering first and maintenance costs
With its compact size, the Trane RTWD fit easily into the building’s mechanical room without requiring  additional floor space or special mechanical room features necessary to meet code when using CO2 or ammonia refrigerant, making installation fast and less costly for the ice rink facility. The robust design of the chiller, with two direct drive helical rotary compressors, uses fewer moving parts, helping to reduce annual service and maintenance costs.

Ensuring reliability and efficiency
The direct drive helical rotary compressor design of the RTWD chiller provides Complexe Sportif Trane with precise temperature control and reliability. The chiller can be configured to produce leaving-evaporator solution temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C), making it ideal for the quick-freezing operation needed for the ice rink. A full ten-year warranty is offered on the reliable RTWD chiller.

For heat recovery mode, the RTWD can be used to generate condenser water temperatures as high as 115°F (46°C) while producing the low solution temperatures. To maximize energy recovery, before sending excess heat outside, the chiller’s heat rejection is used to preheat domestic hot water, heat the snow melt pit and the arena’s under slab, and reheat the dehumidification unit.

Creating a comfortable indoor environment
Two Trane Precedent™ rooftop units serve the gym and office area and a heat recovery rooftop handles the comfort needs of the change rooms. A Trane® Performance Climate Changer™ air handler ensures that optimal humidity levels are maintained, while delivering dependable performance, industry-leading efficiency, lower-cost installation and quiet operation to meet energy, comfort and budget requirements.

Managing systems with user-friendly BAS
Complexe Sportif Trane uses a Tracer™ SC building automation system (BAS) to monitor and control its systems. Accessible from a PC, tablet or smartphone, the Tracer SC allows the building owner to access systems remotely to improve efficiency, increase comfort and reduce energy use. The user-friendly BAS makes daily tasks such as scheduling, making set point changes or managing alarms simple.


After years in planning, the 100 percent privately-owned Complexe Sportif Trane opened in Boischatel, Québec. The Trane RTWD chiller, Performance Climate Changer air handler, and Tracer SC building automation system installed in the ice arena offer reliability to help ensure the continuous operation of the facility, a comfortable environment for guests and efficient operation, while helping to meet project budget parameters with lower first costs and maintenance expenses. Using 134A refrigerant rather than CO2 or ammonia, the RTWD chiller helps maintain a safe environment for patrons and guests, and is competitive with the energy savings of the alternative refrigerant chillers.

With the ice rink complex successfully opened for business, the facility owner is looking for opportunities to expand the concept in other cities. “The connection between Trane and our company was very good,” said Charles Vigneault, owner, Complexe Sportif Trane. “Trane has many service technicians, a good reputation and outstanding sales people. We are planning to use this as our model as we look for opportunities to work with other cities on similar ice rink projects.”

If you would like to read this case study in French, click here.