January 20, 2023 | at the FISU Winter University Games
It’s no secret that the environmental issue is at the heart of Lake Placid 2023.
All officials and organizers stressed the importance of making this FISU World University Games an environmentally responsible event, and conferences – most notably the three-day Save Winter Conference – all investments and renovations focused on this priority.
The facilities and venues of the Games in and around Lake Placid welcome thousands of athletes and spectators in a new way.
For example, the Olympic Center’s cooling system was completely overhauled less than a year ago to make room for a more efficient and energy-efficient system.
This was a priority for the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA). As ORDA officials explained to the media earlier this week, “Just as Lake Placid’s history was born from ice, Lake Placid’s ice was born from cooling.”
“It’s probably the most modern refrigeration system in the Northeast,” proudly demonstrates Eric Martin, technical manager of the Herb Brooks Arena – also known as the 1980s ice rink.
Emma Lamy, Sustainability and Environment Specialist at ORDA, explains the details of the arena’s underground equipment.
“In a sense, they are the ‘guts’ of the refrigerator. It’s all a closed loop system, which means we have no waste heat at all.”
This last point is crucial as the heat generated by the cooling system can cause significant environmental damage. Instead, ORDA worked to use it in other helpful ways.
For example, some of the heat is used to heat part of the water system at the Olympic Center.
“All this waste heat is carried away through the melt pipes to the outside, so we don’t have to use salt,” Lamy explains, showing one part of a series of pipes and tubes. “Salt is extremely damaging to bodies of water, so it’s important we find another way.”
In addition, the residual heat melts leftover snow collected by the ice resurfacing machine – known locally as Zamboni – at various rinks, making the process faster and more efficient.
These Zamboni were themselves part of this new investment campaign, as the two used at the 1980 rink are fully electrically powered.
“They are so quiet,” exclaims Dave Ulbrich, their driver.
Overall, the new refrigeration system has brought great satisfaction to ORDA on the one hand, but also to the facility’s staff.
“My job is much easier than it was a few years ago,” says Eric Martin enthusiastically.
Written by Louis Gilles, a young FISU reporter
Watch our short FISU.tv documentary “Global Warning – Save Winter”.