The Vienna Ice Dream Opens

VIENNA : Today the Vienna Ice Dream opens. For a long time it was considered whether it should take place at all – now the time has come. The area was reduced by ten percent due to the energy situation, and savings were also made in other areas.

Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) said The ice landscape in front of the town hall is around 8,500 square meters this year – that’s 1,000 square meters less than last year. “The goal is that we save up to 20 percent energy through various measures by omitting some things, such as curling, which was also energy-intensive.

In addition, the technical framework conditions have been adapted. For example, two chillers could be saved. A large part of the energy used is now fed into an energy cycle. Technical Manager Richard Sivy shows a large melting tank: “We use the waste heat from the cooling units to melt the ice debris that is produced right on site. And the hot water that is produced is immediately used again to prepare the ice.” This saves 150 truck journeys because up to now the abrasion has been removed.

According to the organizers, the new ice technology also allows the ice surfaces to be gradually cooled. This should make it possible to ensure that the ice can be driven on even on warmer days without having to use maximum energy to cool the ice – a measure that saves around 25 percent of the previous energy consumption. In addition, the entire standard lighting has been switched to energy-saving LED lamps for years. Since 2020, the Eistraum has been getting 100 percent of its electricity from hydropower. Hans Gunsam, President of the Vienna Ice Skating Association, explained that the energy consumption of the ice rinks is about the same every year.

Despite the high temperatures, he does not see a drop in the number of visitors. According to press spokesman Markus Bariszlovich, there was also no connection between higher outside temperatures and less crowds in the Steffl Arena. “The influx, especially during the Christmas holidays, was constantly high,” says Bariszlovich. At the Vienna Ice Skating Association, an ice machine is usually on the ice every two hours and consumes around one cubic meter of water, which is around five bathtubs full.

The machines are powered by petrol or electricity, around two liters of petrol or three kilowatts of electricity (if a 100-watt light bulb burns for 30 hours) are consumed per trip. On game days or when public ice skating takes place, the ice in the Steffl Arena has to be prepared more often by the ice machines, the schedule is always different here. An ice machine is electrically operated. More detailed information regarding the energy consumption was not given. Plastic ice rinks are rejected by Hans Gunsam. The energy balance would be better, but it’s just not the same.

Gliding on such tracks is much worse. According to Gunsam’s experience, the audience doesn’t take it well either. Due to the special position of the Steffl Arena as a venue for the Vienna Capitals, a switch to synthetic panels is not practicable here either, according to Markus Bariszlovich. However, both the Ice Skating Association and the Steffl Arena are trying to find green alternatives. October last year, the last of the approximately 3,000 photovoltaic panels was installed on the roof of the Wiener Stadthalle.

There, public ice skating is offered in Hall C, the EisStadthalle. Around 1.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity can be generated in this way every year. The solar power is then used to produce ice in the EisStadthalle. In the near future, the roof of the Steffl Arena will also be equipped with a photovoltaic system. “This should be able to cover the annual consumption of the arena on average,” explained Bariszlovich.