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Modelling Ice Rink on DesignBuilder or Energy Plus

asked 2015-05-18 10:15:39 -0500

updated 2015-07-11 13:11:00 -0500


I've been working on modelling an ice rink for a project lately on DesignBuilder.

I thought I can modelize the ice layer by a block, then cool it at -7°C.

Until here, everything worked, but when you check the temperature of the floor and ceiling of the ice block, they are at 10-20°C.

I'm searching to get a whole block with the same temperature everywhere (from the floor to the roof). Can anyone, please, advice me with any ideas to get to that model?

Thanks in advance,

Best regards,

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There is an idea to add an ice rink simulation capability to EnergyPlus. You can vote for it here.

Neal Kruis gravatar image Neal Kruis  ( 2015-08-19 18:27:39 -0500 )edit

Cross marketing!

__AmirRoth__ gravatar image __AmirRoth__  ( 2015-08-19 19:07:39 -0500 )edit

I'm working on a facility with two ice rinks. Even a simplified model of a cold floor slab would help. Jim McNally

jimmcnally gravatar image jimmcnally  ( 2017-04-20 20:19:37 -0500 )edit

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answered 2015-08-19 09:47:53 -0500

NickC gravatar image

Not sure if you are still searching for a solution, but I ran across a paper a while back that should be of interest link

Haven't attempted anything like this myself. I'd start by reading the paper and contacting the corresponding author, a Professor at The University of Colorado at Boulder link. Good luck!

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Hi NickC, yes I am still searching for a solution for dynamic simulations for ice rinks. For my previous project, I finally went with an excel calculation considering all the internal loads and systems presents in the ice rink based on the ASHRAE definitions. I'll read what it is in that thesis. Thanks fo the share!

NassimJ gravatar image NassimJ  ( 2015-10-20 07:23:05 -0500 )edit

UPDATE: This was eventually logged as an issue on the EnergyPlus Github site where the source code is hosted, and @Jason DeGraw marked this as "In Progress" in July 2019. However, it doesn't look like EnergyPlus has an "ice rink" object yet. If you believe this should be added, then let the development team know by giving the issue a "thumbs up" or similar comment.

Aaron Boranian gravatar image Aaron Boranian  ( 2020-07-18 16:18:32 -0500 )edit

answered 2021-03-27 09:27:09 -0500

updated 2021-03-27 20:08:06 -0500

Old question, but I answered a similar one on the Bldg-sim email list that might be helpful. Here's my approach/methodology for an outdoor ice rink in OpenStudio.

I did this in OpenStudio/EnergyPlus, albeit not explicitly because EnergyPlus isn’t currently able to model a PlantLoop using refrigerant as the working fluid.

System Summary

Here’s a summary of the system I modeled for an outdoor ~16k ft2 ice rink at a city park in Indiana.

  • (1) Flooded Chiller (refrigerant/brine)
  • (3) Compressors
  • (1) Evaporative Condenser (refrigerant/water)
  • (1) Condenser Pump
  • (1) Condenser Fan
  • (3) Brine Pumps


Here’s the methodology, which I used to claim savings for LEED through an exceptional calculation (no review comments).

  1. Have the design engineer calculate the hourly cooling load on the plant using the weather data from the TMY file.

    image description

  2. Adjust the cooling load profile to remove loads during the months when the ice rink is not expected to typically operate (Mar – Nov, see ASHRAE handbooks).

    image description

  3. Calculate the gross COP of the plant by dividing the total cooling capacity (W) by the total HP (W) of the compressors, pumps, and fans.

  4. Calculate the hourly electrical load of the plant by dividing the hourly cooling load (W) by the COP (W/W).

  5. Determine the peak electrical load of the plant (W).

  6. Calculate the hourly peak electrical load fraction by dividing the electrical load for each hour of the year by the peak electrical load, which results in a constant (greater than zero) operating schedule during the ice rink season.

    image description

  7. Adjust the peak electrical load fraction profile to account for the system cycling/staging on/off by setting fractions below 25% to zero. This was my main assumption based on the number of compressors, so adjust to fit your project.

    image description

  8. I used a Ruby script to add the annual hourly schedule as a ScheduleFixedInterval object to my model using the OpenStudio API (example, but SchedulFile is now available in the OpenStudio SDK).

  9. The ice rink system was modeled using the EnergyPlus object Exterior:FuelEquipment with the Design Level field set to the peak electrical load in (W) and the peak electrical load fraction profile as the Schedule. For each hour of the year, the peak load value is multiplied by the peak load fraction to determine the energy use (Wh) during the simulation. I used an OpenStudio measure to add this object to the model during the simulation.

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Asked: 2015-05-18 10:15:39 -0500

Seen: 526 times

Last updated: Mar 27