District of Summerland’s Electric Zamboni

The District of Summerland made the decision to purchase an electric lithium ion machine versus replacing with the traditional propane re-surfacer or the lead acid electric version.

Considerations including savings through low cost electric charging in comparison to the cost of propane consumption, safety issues with filling, transporting, and storing propane, reducing strain on arena ventilation system, the low maintenance costs, and becoming a more eco-friendly arena were key factors in decision making. Historically, the Zamboni utilized approximately 120 litres of propane each ice season.

After a public procurement process, the District selected the Zamboni 552ACLI model with Lithium Battery Power. The lithium option is new technology and was offered on the bigger models in 2020. Summerland was the first community to have this model with the lithium battery on the ice according to Kendrick Equipment supplier.

“Council and our staff have been committed to sustainable operations within all departments over recent years and this is another example of the District’s sustainable outlook,” said Anthony Haddad, Chief Administrative Officer with the District of Summerland.

Arena staff have commented on how easy it is to operate. The machine uses about 13% of battery life per clean. With the arena running 18 hours a day, plugging it in halfway through the day and at the end of the night keeps it charged above 50%. The lithium battery boasts a life cycle of up to four times that of a lead acid battery while delivering a consistent output.

The Climate Action Reserve Fund provided some funds to support the project, and it also received a rebate from CleanBC Go Electric Rebates (previously known as SUVI). A reduction of approximately 140 tonnes of Greenhouse Gases (GhGs) is expected over the lifetime of the equipment. This project helps support the District of Summerland’s GHG emissions reduction goals and is in line with recommendations from both the Official Community Plan & the Corporate Energy & Emissions Plan.

There are also a hat-trick of financial benefits for going electric: the District saves on fuel, on maintenance costs, and on the reduced strain on the arena’s ventilation system due to the elimination of carbon emissions.

The arena also purchased a REALice water treatment system in November 2017 which eliminates the need for hot water when building and resurfacing ice which has resulted in less dehumidifier run time and facility utility cost savings.