Strathcona Regional District Gets in the Energy Loop

The Ice Rink Keeps the Pool Warm at the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Centre.

The Strathcona Gardens Recreation Centre in Campbell River, Strathcona Regional District installed an ‘energy recovery loop’ which channels waste energy from the ice rink’s compressor room to heating the Centre’s pools.

Photo: Heat Pumps: Heat pumps remove the energy from the glycol circulating in the piping system and heat the swimming pools.

Success Story Snapshot

Energy Savings / GHG Reductions: The energy saved by this project will be between 11,000 and 13,000 gigajoules of natural gas energy every year. This will amount to between 561,000 and 663,000 kg of CO2 reductions per year.
Business case: The reduction of natural gas used will save local government $50,000-$60,000 annually.
Co-benefits: Community and staff awareness and education of climate action increased. The project is an example of staff and elected officials commitment to GHG reductions.
Total project cost: The total project cost was $ 310,000 – funded by Gas Tax and local governments.

Project Summary

The Strathcona Gardens Recreation Centre is a local government operated multi-purpose recreation facility that includes two ice arenas, swimming and leisure pools and a variety of other fitness and recreational components. It is located in the City of Campbell River – in the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) on Vancouver Island.
In 2014 the SRD took climate action at the building level by installing an energy recovery system at their recreation centre. The system consists of a six inch pipe full of glycol that runs in a continuous loop from the arena condensing tower to the heat pumps located near the recreation centre pools and back to the arena. Because of the circular route of the energy recovery system it is often simply called ‘the energy loop’. 

The energy loop channels waste heat from the arena ammonia compressor room, where ice is made for the two rinks, to the swimming and leisure pools. It uses 600 feet of pipe. Energy is added to the loop at the compressor room and removed as needed to heat the pools.

“The whole system is really a very simple concept of absorbing waste heat or energy from one location and bringing it to an area where there is a demand” explains Lorne Parker, the Operations Manager of the Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex. “In the recreation centre we are constantly cooling one area of our building while heating another.”

Parker initiated the retrofit by researching the system and by exploring funding opportunities. He received full support from the Strathcona Gardens Commission. The Commission oversees the operation of Strathcona Gardens Recreation Centre and consists of representatives from the City of Campbell River and Strathcona Regional District Electoral Area D.

The Strathcona Gardens Commission approved and awarded construction of the energy loop to a Victoria company in August 2013. The construction was completed March 13, 2014.

The energy loop is designed and sized in a way that will enable future expansions to connect to the current infrastructure at a significantly lower cost. Future expansions or connections to the energy loop could include air handling units, preheating domestic water and snow melting pits for the ice cleaning machines.

Investment in high efficiency heating systems like Strathcona Gardens is helping to reduce the carbon footprint from local government operations.

Energy Savings/GHG reductions

The energy saved by the participating local governments as a result of this project will be between 11,000 and 13,000 gigajoules of natural gas energy every year. This will be a 561,000 and 663,000 kg of CO2 reduction in CO2 produced. These savings will significantly reduce the natural gas bill and will also reduce the carbon footprint of the recreation complex.

Business Case

The total project cost was $310,000 with $99,750 coming from a grant and the remainder funded by the Strathcona Regional District. The grant money was supplied by the Gas Tax Fund (Gas Tax Innovations Fund) – managed by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).

“Investment in high efficiency heating systems like Strathcona Gardens is helping to reduce the carbon footprint from local government operations. We are appreciative of the support provided by the Federal government for this project,” said Rhona Martin UBCM President

The reduction of natural gas used to heat the main and leisure pools will save the local government $50,000-$60,000 annually.


Increased community awareness about climate action solutions are an additional benefit of the energy loop system. The innovative system serves as a public education tool about waste-heat recovery and informs staff about building energy reduction.

Complementary education such as building operator training helps staff identify other energy-reduction and maintenance measures to save energy in the same building. Subsequently, staff has also replaced arena lighting with energy efficient fixtures and are participating in a anti-idling campaign.

The entire project shows the commitment of the Strathcona Regional District and its citizens to reducing greenhouse gases.

Lessons learned

Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex Operations Manager Lorne Parker encourages other local governments to consider this type of climate action tool and to tour other facilities that have undertaken similar types of projects. Research is a key component for successful projects. Parker has learned the importance of early preparation when applying for grant money, “I try to have my projects and RFP’s shelf-ready, so that when there is opportunity you can take full advantage.”

Related Tools

The following Tools can be used for researching energy recovery loops for corporate operations

The Strathcona Regional District has policies in place that support this climate action success.

The Regional District signed the BC Climate Action Charter committing them to three goals:

1. Become carbon neutral in its corporate operations by 2012
2. Measure and report on its community greenhouse gas emissions profile
3. Create complete, compact, energy efficient rural and urban communities

Other Examples: 

Links to other BC Communities taking the same climate action:


Lorne Parker Manager of Operations. Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex,, 250-287-9234 ext 237
Community type: