With all the free rain that falls on the Fraser Valley, Dean Barrett thought it would be a good idea to collect it and use it for making ice at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre.
So did the City of Abbotsford and the AESC operators, so with the expertise of Barrett's company, Barr Plastics, along with Saxon Mechanical, Excalibur Electric and Tiger Purification Systems, the building was equipped with a $30,000 rainwater harvesting system that is used to make the ice for Heat hockey games.
As far as Barrett knows, the innovation the team installed a year ago is the first for a professional level hockey rink in the world, and is now being emulated elsewhere.
On Wednesday, the Union of B.C. Municipalities presented the AESC and the Abbotsford Mission Water Sewer Commission a Community Excellence Award for the water-conserving project.
Barrett's involvement came after the ice manager had difficulties using the mineral-heavy municipal water for good quality ice.
The system collects rain from a quarter of the AESC roof, a 12,000 square foot area. The water is stored in eight tanks in the boiler room, where the water is warmed by the ambient air, so less energy is needed to heat the water to 60¼C for the Zamboni.
And because of the purity of the water, the ice manager can chill the ice slab a half a degree warmer and still have quality ice, said Barrett.
The system saves the complex about 830,000 litres of water per hockey season, and about $3,200 in energy savings a year.
A local company, Barr Plastics has also installed a 34,000 L rain tank at the Abbotsford Public Works yard, used for city watering trucks, an 11,000 L tank used for fleet washing and an 11,000 L tank at Mission's Fraser River Heritage Park to water the rose garden.