Harty Mechanical Inc. awarded Burnsville Ice Center Improvements Project
The Burnsville Ice Center, featuring an eye-catching wooden barreled ceiling, has long earned high marks for its ambience. And the stage has now been set for it to rank among the most energy-efficient rinks in North America.
The Burnsville City Council on Tuesday approved a nearly $5 million renovation project that includes a geothermal energy system that is expected to reduce energy use by 43 percent. The city could save an estimated $77,000 a year.
"This project is in line with the sustainability approach [Burnsville] has taken on,'' said Terry Schultz, Burnsville's director of parks, recreation and national resources.
The geothermal system will be used to cool the arena's ice sheet as well as to heat and cool the building.
Harty Mechanical of Austin, Minn., has been awarded the project. It submitted the lowest of the 15 bids Burnsville received. The highest bid came in about $1 million higher than Harty's.
The debt will be paid off at an average of $360,000 a year for 25 years.
Work is to begin March 15 and be completed by mid-October. Burnsville has a deal with Lakeville to use Hasse Arena for its spring and summer programs. Schultz said the city is confident customers will return to Burnsville next year.
The current 38-year-old system has far outlived its projected lifespan. "We've been living on the edge,'' Schultz said.
Ice arenas with geothermal systems are fairly common in Canada and are gaining popularity in the United States. Albert Lea, Austin, Roseville and Woodbury are among the Minnesota cities that have signed on.
For Burnsville, construction of the geothermal system will include the placement of 200 wells in the ground around the facility to collect the Earth's heat. Geothermal heat pumps transfer heat from the ground (or water) into buildings in winter and reverse the process in the summer.
Pipes buried in the ground circulate a fluid similar to antifreeze throughout the building.
Enough heat will be collected to heat the entire facility; collecting enough heat to service nearby City Hall does not appear likely. That would require additional wells and it is questionable whether adequate space is available.
Included in the project will be the addition of a mechanical room, a snow melt pit inside the building, new dasher boards and a new roof for the flat-roof portion of the arena.
Local business to conduct free furnace checks Saturday
'Heats On' program to benefit 25 to 30 homes of elderly, low-income and disabled residents
By Mike Rose | Austin Daily Herald
Published Friday, September 18, 2009
On Saturday in Austin, a local mechanical company will be volunteering time to make sure some people in need have efficient — and safe — heating systems.
Harty Mechanical will be participating in the “Heat’s On” program, which will provide free furnace checks in about 25-30 homes of elderly, low-income and disabled residents.
The program will be in its first year in Austin, but it was started 23 years ago in the Twin Cities by the Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association and a local pipefitters union, MMCA marketing director Paul Berg said.
“It’s about awareness,” he said. “Cleaning furnaces is a huge thing.”
Berg said clean, smooth-running heating systems are both more energy efficient and safer for residents.
There will be five “Heat’s On” events running Saturday, Berg said, with mechanics volunteering time in the Twin Cities, Rochester, Mankato, St. Cloud and Austin.
In each area, volunteers will gather early for a breakfast before hitting the streets. Furnaces needing new parts or repairs will be taken care of at no cost to residents, and smoke detectors will also be provided when needed.
In Austin, seven teams of two mechanics each will aim to get to the 25-30 homes and maybe more if there’s time, Harty service manager Ken Roche said.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We’re going to make sure everything is firing right and safely.”
Roche said he’s also excited to partner with the Austin Fire Department, who will help provide smoke detectors to homes without them.
“It’s kind of thrilling to see our local fire department want to be part of it,” Roche said.
Chief Dan Wilson said having a smoke detector is crucial for homeowners — a point that was evident Wednesday, when a fire in an Austin home without detectors led the chief to say the family was “lucky” to make it out safe.
“You don’t think about (having a smoke detector),” Wilson said. “You take it for granted.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 40 percent of all fire deaths in homes between 2003 and 2006 occurred in properties without detectors, while another 23 percent occurred at homes in which alarms were present but not functioning.
Furnace safety is also very important, the NFPA reports — heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February, and trails only cooking equipment in home fires year-round.
Harty Mechanical, Inc.
1600 1 St Avenue NE PO Box 277
Austin, MN 55912