Providence College Improves Efficiency at Schneider Arena

Located on the northern end of Providence College's illustrious campus in Rhode Island, Schneider Arena is an athletic facility. The building serves the needs of the men's and women's Division I hockey programs, men's lacrosse, the club hockey team, intramurals, and Rhode Island's youth and high school hockey teams. Over its nearly 50-year history, the 3,000+ seat arena has undergone several renovations to ensure its state-of-the-art facilities. One of the recent upgrade projects was to improve the efficiency of the chiller system responsible for maintaining the temperature of the ice. The scope of work involved a complete overhaul of the chiller plant.


Providence College's primary motivation for revamping the Schneider Arena chiller plant was to

  1. increase system efficiency and reduce chilled water consumption
  2. improve the ability to control ice temperature.

To accomplish these objectives, facilities personnel worked collaboratively with Arden Engineering Constructors and Earthwise Energy Technologies to redesign the entire chilled water system. In addition to many key components and equipment assets approaching the end of their useful life, the existing system was plagued by several issues, including over pumping and poor response time to ice temperature fluctuations. The revamp replaced two 140-ton chillers and associated water and glycol pumps, along with all controls and valves. As part of the project, four pneumatically-driven valves (two for condenser water and two for glycol) were placed with new Belimo butterfly valves and flow meters.


The advanced butterfly valve assemblies facilitated simplified installation and commissioning. The patented brushless motor technology reduces energy consumption by up to 80% compared to similar products on the market and ensures longevity and optimal system performance. The unique features like NFC, software, and available supercapacitor technology also enables user selection of fail position (0-100%) and delays unnecessary actuator movements during short brownout conditions, thus avoiding changes in the HVAC and building automation system. The patent-pending self-adjusting end stop algorithm also ensures zero leakage at 200 psi close-off.

Control Screen 2

Arden Engineering used advanced scanning technologies and virtual design and construction (VDC) software to streamline construction and installation to develop a complete 3D model of the new chiller plant room at Schneider Arena. Belimo provided REVIT files, including all relevant physical characteristics and technical data for the butterfly valves and flow meters. The 3D files of valves and flow meters for the virtual model enable dragging and dropping the files into the software program eliminating the need to take physical measurements and simplified the process of building the model.

With the new system, the outputs of four temperature sensors embedded in the ice are averaged. That data is then transmitted to the control system, which maintains the ice temperature within 1-2°F of its 20°F setpoint. A large display with read-only capability visualizes all data collected by the system. Alarms are integrated to take quick and decisive action if ice temperature begins to drift outside its nominal range. This same information is also available to individuals in the control room at the campus' central plant. Overall, the installation of Belimo butterfly valves and flow meters, and other system modifications have generated measurable savings for Providence College. The new system is currently pumping about half the gallons per minute (GPM) seen before the upgrade. Almost 10% of the total project cost was covered by a rebate provided by the utility provider (National Grid).Download the whole story.

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