At the Pettit National Ice Center, site of this week’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials Long Track, precise ice, air temperature, and humidity are critical to peak performance and Olympic dreams. One inch or a hundredth of a second can mean the difference between a speed skater punching their ticket to the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month or going home.
For more than 10 years, Rockwell Automation has helped the Pettit create the ideal ice conditions sustainably for elite and amateur athletes alike. With donated Rockwell systems, controls and expertise, the Pettit has reduced electricity usage by 1 million kWh a year, while allowing Facility Director Paul Golomski to monitor and manage conditions whether he's at home, work or in another country.
“The Rockwell Automation system continues to be a major game changer for us,” Golomski said in the press release. “I expected significant energy savings, but what we achieved amazed me. These results are critical because we can reinvest the savings and operate as a more environmentally and financially sustainable community asset. The system has kept our energy consumption at very predictable annual levels that year after year help us put more money into our operating budgets.”
Built in 1992 in Milwaukee, the Pettit is one of only 30 indoor 400-meter Olympic speed skating Ovals in the world and one of only two in the U.S. More than 430,000 visitors use the training venue every year.
“The level of precision we achieve with system setpoints allows me to hit very specific conditions for each individual ice sport,” Golomski explained. “All ice sports require different ice and air temperatures. U.S. Speedskating is entrusting us to try to mimic arena conditions they should encounter in Beijing at the 2022 Olympic Games. This will best prepare athletes for success by skating in a similar environment.”
The U.S. Olympic Team Trials Long Track start today and run through Sunday, Jan. 9.
Read more about how the Pettit National Ice Center monitors, manages, and conserves energy in this blog Golomski wrote for Rockwell.