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Complex Refrigeration Systems for Ice Rinks and More

Refrigeration Engineering

When it comes to delivering a dependable ice system, design is key. From planning and consultation to design, and construction administration, VBFA provides a record of proven results with our experienced and award-winning ice refrigeration engineers at VBFA.

Refrigeration system mechanical engineering in Salt Lake City Utah ice rink
Ice rink refrigeration system engineering in Salt Lake City Utah

Utah Refrigeration Engineers

Reliable Ice Systems for Optimal Performance

Your rink or recreational facility’s ice system is composed of several complex and integrative parts. The design and engineering of this system is critical to the efficiency, performance, and longevity of your facility, so finding the right engineering team will be the most important decision you make. Ice refrigeration is a niche area of mechanical engineering, which means finding ice refrigeration engineers can be difficult — and finding those who excel in this field is even more challenging.

At VBFA, our ice refrigeration engineers are leaders in their field, having worked on prestigious projects involving Olympic facilities as well as top community and competitive arenas from the Intermountain West to the East Coast. When it comes to refrigeration engineers you can count on, VBFA’s legacy speaks for itself.

Read on to learn more about the ice and refrigeration services our team offers.

Why Organizations Around the Country Seek Out Our Industry Experts

Those looking for large-scale ice refrigeration systems turn to us, and as a result, we find our work takes us to different areas of the country all the time. Here are just a few reasons our clients return to us again and again:

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Understanding of Specialized Systems

Our team designs and implements the most technologically advanced refrigeration systems that offer greater energy efficiency and the convenience of 24/7 digital control. No matter what your needs are, we know how to deliver an ice system that will meet them.

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Unique Service Offering

Our understanding of these complex refrigeration systems is something not many engineering firms offer. Because of our rare yet critical skill set, we travel to wherever your project takes us, from Idaho to New York.

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Cost Consciousness

We push ourselves to find creative ways to stretch your budget without ever compromising on quality. Your investment is important to us, and we work to make each dollar count.

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Proven Experience

Our team has worked in the industry for decades, and has engineered ice refrigeration systems for rinks that have hosted international Olympic competitions. Over the years, we’ve applied the lessons we learned from our most prestigious projects to help us make each new facility that much more reliable and efficiently designed.

“Nowhere is our refrigeration expertise more visible than in the Olympic venues we’re proud to have designed, and improvements in engineering continue to provide even better ice surfaces on which world-class athletes display their expertise.”

– Rich Reeder, Mechanical Engineer

Notable Projects

From the Utah Olympic Park to community recreational ice facilities across the country, our work has taken us from coast to coast. Browse some of VBFA’s ice refrigeration projects below.



The Positive Impact of Efficient Engineering

Refrigeration technology continues to evolve, becoming more efficient and environmentally-friendly than ever before. For our sustainably-focused engineering team, the most effective solutions are those that not only reduce your operating costs and required maintenance, but also lower your carbon footprint in meaningful ways. By understanding and implementing the industry’s latest system advancements, we engineer a high-quality, long-lasting ice system you can feel confident will carry you through decades of use. This commitment to quality and innovation not only benefits your organization, but helps us engineer a brighter future for all.

Electrical design sustainability | Utah engineering firm in Salt Lake City, UT | VBFA

Our Ice Refrigeration Engineering Services

As a unique branch of mechanical engineering, ice refrigeration engineering includes many different services related to refrigeration and ammonia systems, such as:

Refrigeration services
  • Digital system controls (and integrations for overall building operations)
  • Analysis & problem-solving for existing refrigeration systems and ice rinks
  • Energy-efficient engineering standards and understanding of sustainable refrigeration practices
  • Feasibility studies
  • Ice system design
    • Refrigeration pump systems
    • Evaporative condensers
    • Ammonia refrigeration systems
    • Brine secondary loops
    • Glycol secondary loops
  • Project commissioning

About VBFA

Engineering Excellence for Over 50 Years

Much has changed in refrigeration engineering over the past several decades, but thanks to the creativity and courage of our newest generation of engineering professionals, we are sustaining the hard-earned VBFA legacy as a prominent industry leader.

Combining our years of experience in this specialized field, along with our long-standing commitment to thinking outside the box, we make sense of current innovations and offer straightforward advice and solutions you can trust. At VBFA, you can trust our team will step up and do the extra work to deliver the best possible solution every time.

business information modeling (BIM) | Utah Engineering Firm in Salt Lake City | VBFA

What Our Clients Have to Say

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is refrigeration?

At its most basic definition, refrigeration is a mechanical cooling process that removes heat from an enclosed space through the use of the refrigeration cycle . Refrigeration has many applications, including air conditioning, household refrigerators, industrial freezers and food processing, manufacturing, and much more.

How does refrigerant work?

“Refrigerant” refers to a fluid that can easily change its state — in other words, it can boil from a liquid into a vapor and then condense from a vapor back into a liquid again and again with ease. While many liquids could be considered refrigerants, including water, most refrigerants used today are synthetic chlorofluorocarbon chemicals.

In the refrigeration cycle the refrigerant changes state from liquid to gas and back by absorbing and rejecting heat. By manipulating the pressures in the system, the temperatures at which these state changes occur can be controlled, and allows the movement of heat which makes the creation of ice or sub-freezing spaces possible. View this diagram for a better look at how these components work together.

What is ASHRAE?

ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. This professional organization’s mission is to serve humanity by advancing the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration and their allied fields. The society and its members focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration, and sustainability within the industry.

What does the compressor do in the refrigeration system?

The compressor pulls refrigerant in as a vapor at low temperature, before quickly compressing it. This rapid compression causes the vapor’s molecules to quickly collide, causing the resulting energy to create heat. The vapor leaves the compressor at a higher temperature, higher pressure, and with greater energy, before it enters the condenser.

How does a condenser work?

The condenser is the component where heat is displaced out of the refrigeration system and into the air. When the refrigerant enters the condenser, it is a high-temperature, high-energy vapor that has just left the compressor. As the vapor passes along the condenser’s tubes, air and/or water is passed across the component to remove heat energy from the refrigerant. As heat energy is lost, the refrigerant condenses back to a cooler liquid state, though still at high pressure.

Utah Engineering Consultant in Salt Lake City, UT | MEP Engineers | VBFA

Let’s Get Started on your Next Project

Now that you’ve seen what we can do, get to know the team who can make it happen.