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New Ice Rink for Melbourne
October 10, 2011

Melbournians have the opportunity to skate to the top of winter sports with a new world-class ice sports facility developed by ING Real Estate in Docklands.

Medibank Icehouse is the only dual-rink facility in Australia and features two Olympic size ice rinks to cater for ice sports - figure skating, short track speed skating, ice hockey and curling - as well as recreational skaters. Grandstand seating for 1,000 spectators, a café, bar, gymnasium and specialist sports medicine clinic make this a world class training and competition facility and are key reasons why the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia (OWIA) relocated its training programs and administration to the Icehouse.

Entire Mechanical Services won the mechanical contract for the ice rink and Fantech supplied 26 general exhaust fans and smoke spill fans for the project.

Project Manager Garry Muscat said the Icehouse was the first professional ice-skating rink to be built in Melbourne for several decades and presented unique challenges as Olympic standard ice rink construction was unfamiliar within Australia.

Melbourne-based Cox Architects also sought guidance from abroad and designed the $58 million complex in collaboration with Canadian ice-sports specialist architects, Brisbin Brook Beynon, and international engineers ARUP.

“Ice rinks require stringent temperature and humidity control,” Garry said. “The air temperature is maintained at 16°C, but at this temperature any moisture in the air could create fog. Fogging would obscure spectators’ vision and could present health and safety issues because of it. To reduce fogging humidity is kept at 40-45%.”

Garry said even though air temperatures were 16°C, visitors to the Icehouse were kept warm through an underfloor hydronic heating system in the skater’s lounge, skater dressing rooms, and other non-skating areas.

Like all commercial developments in Docklands, the Icehouse must meet a set of minimum performance standards outlined in the Melbourne Docklands Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) Guide. The guide was the first operational Green Building Rating tool in Australia and was a key reference tool in the development of Australia’s Green Star program by the Green Building Council of Australia.

Garry said they had used a heat exchanger to reclaim heat from cooling tower condenser water and use this for the underfloor hydronic heating, and heating of the rink air. Similarly, in summer, some of the Fantech relief air fans are used to extract cooler air from the rinks and, via a heat exchanger, precool warmer fresh air. This was an ESD initiative to reduce the amount of electrical energy consumed by the HVAC plant.

These initiatives were instrumental in the icehouse receiving an Award of Excellence which recognises the highest level of environmentally sustainable design under the Docklands ESD guide, and is equivalent to a 5 Star Green Star rating.  Medibank Icehouse opened its doors to the public on 12 February, 2010.


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