Nice ice, baby: Ice-rink maker finds following with thermal energy storage

Nice ice, baby: Ice-rink maker finds following with thermal energy storage

Summary: CALMAC of Fair Lawn, N.J., has one of the most diverse product portfolios I've heard about in a long time.

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TOPICS: Storage, Hardware
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CALMAC of Fair Lawn, N.J., has one of the most diverse product portfolios I've heard about in a long time. Not only has the company sold and installed more than 800 ice-skating rinks -- including the one in New York City's Bryant Park -- it is using that intellectual property as one of the foundations for its energy-efficient alternative for cooling off buildings.

Mark MacCracken, CEO of CALMAC, says the company's ICEBANK technology works in a pretty simple way. In effect, ICEBANK is a form of energy storage, a concept that continues to build a following as investors explore the viability of various alternative energy options. "It is a way to balance out supply and demand," McCracken notes.

During the night, when energy costs are generally lower, ICEBANK units on the roof of a building convert water contained within them into blocks of ice. During the day, the chillers are turned off and as the ice melts, the cool water is pumped throughout the building. "You shift the cooling costs to off-peak," he says. For example, a retailer that is using the technology in Honolulu has been able to cut its daytime energy use in half by using the ICEBANK units.

ICEBANK is a concept that has been around for several years, and it have been has been installed in approximately 3,500 buildings in 36 countries so far, including the new LEED Platinum Bank of America building in New York (44 units) and the new headquarters of Goldman Sachs, which is picking up about double that number of units.

Topics: Storage, Hardware

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  • Isn't this more "cost effective" than "energy efficient?"

    If it is more energy efficient, then how is that efficiency achieved?
    D. W. Bierbaum
    • RE: Nice ice, baby: Ice-rink maker finds following with thermal energy storage

      @D. W. Bierbaum
      Ross44
  • RE: Nice ice, baby: Ice-rink maker finds following with thermal energy storage

    I see what yuo mean. The only thing I can think of is that the utilities' power plants can more easily balance their loads if there is more demand at night and less in the day. I.e. they can run fewer generating plants, at maximum efficiency, if the load is constant, and avoid starting and stopping their furnaces and turbines etc, and running some too hard or too slowly.
    Ross44