Cutting Bills

A new refrigeration system is helping an indoor snow centre dramatically cut power bills and CO² emissions

Snozone Milton Keynes, one of the UK’s six indoor snow centres, has improved usage, profitability and functionality, whilst cutting power bills and CO² emissions, by installing a new refrigeration system.

The UK’s leading refrigeration manufacturer, Star Refrigeration, have helped Snozone save 56% on its electricity bills, and achieve a drop 700 tonnes in CO² emissions – all in the space of four months. This was after the indoor snow centre installed the company’s exceptionally efficient, air-cooled Azanechillers 2.0 system which exceeds Europe’s Eco-Design Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) requirements by 80%.

Currently, the Snozone facility contains 1500 tonnes of snow and ice which have to be maintained at -4˚C air temperature for optimal operation. Fortunately, the new refrigeration plant uses much less energy to produce better skiing conditions than its predecessors. Keeping the environment cool at Snozone is crucial for business, but the building’s previous refrigeration plant was struggling with summer’s ambient temperatures, and a temporary chiller plant was regularly required to support it on a seasonal basis.


Snozone’s slopes (pictured above) are now powered by a new, energy-efficient technology, cutting electricity bills while saving the environment at the same time

Hulley & Kirkwood, consulting engineers, designed a strategy for improving the cooling plant while maintaining business continuity. It was essential to ensure long-term reliability and economic efficiency, and Star’s reputation as the industry’s leading refrigeration experts led to the company being contracted as part of the strategy. Star Refrigeration’s innovative new refrigeration plant, which uses ammonia as a refrigerant, has improved efficiency and safeguarded the facility for the future.

Kyle Bell, Snozone’s Operations Director said,

“We have two indoor snow centres, and at our Castleford venue we operate with an ammonia based cooler system. We’ve had a good experience with ammonia in this location and found it extremely reliable, and therefore decided it was time to do the same at Snozone Milton Keynes.”

The original R404A chillers were replaced with two Star AA415MTE-1 Azanechillers 2.0 which use natural ammonia, a refrigerant with zero ozone depletion or global warming potential. With HFC refrigerants such as R404A being phased out and banned by 2020, it was important for Snozone to employ a climate friendly technology.

The new ammonia installation has been transformational for the Milton Keynes venue. Alan Walkinshaw, Sales Manager – Special Projects at Star Refrigeration explains:

“The new equipment has been easily able to maintain -13C glycol temperatures in the ski slope even on warmer days, whereas the previous equipment was struggling to achieve -8C at peak times. However, the plant isn’t necessarily working harder than the previous system, it is just more efficient. Energy savings have been dramatic, with a 56% saving on electricity in the first four months of operation – from 1,511,062kWh to 661,255kWh for the same period in 2016.”

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