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The Ice Bear® Cometh
August 4, 2005

Mayor Raffi Manoukian, Councilmember Bob Yousefian and city manager Jim Starbird examine the copper heat exchanger in the Ice BearTM storage tank

Glendale, CA August 4, 2005 Brrrrrr! It's 6-cubic-feet around and it isn't hibernating. The Ice Bear®has awakened. A new thermal storage device recently installed at the Glendale Sports Complex could lead the city into a future of energy-efficient cooling systems, according to Glendale Water and Power. The department, in conjunction with Ice Energy, LLC, finished installation of the Ice Bear, an energy storage device for air conditioners on July 29, said Hector Gutierrez, business account representative for Glendale Water and Power. City representatives got a look at the unit -- housed in a plastic container behind the conference room at the Sports Complex -- which uses ice as a method of cooling during peak hours of the day. "It's really a very simple concept," Randy Zwetzig, vice president of business development for Ice Energy, said. "Air conditioners run during the hottest parts of the day, when they are least efficient." That is where the Ice Bear®comes into play.

The device uses existing air conditioners at night, when electricity flow is less congested, to turn water into ice and stores it in a storage unit, Zwetzig said. Then, during daytime peak hours, when the demand for electricity is high, the Ice Bear®uses a pump to provide cooling in the complex's rooms from the stored ice. "The analogy is like driving your car on the freeway during the day when it's all congested versus driving your car at night," Zwetzig said.

The device, which is about 6-cubic-feet around, according to Gutierrez, is part of a pilot program by the city. A second Ice Bear®will be finished Monday at the Casa Verdugo Library on Brand Boulevard, Gutierrez said. Within a year, Glendale Water and Power will determine the efficiency of the unit, which could branch out its use to other commercial or governmental buildings in the future, Gutierrez said. "The test will be reliability," Glendale Water and Power Director Ignacio Troncoso said. "We're going to use the opportunity that it's here and working to encourage others to see how effective it can be." The Ice Bear®could save the Glendale Sports Complex about 10% of its complete energy bill, and saves about 95% of the power used by the structure's existing air conditioner because it is being used at night, Gutierrez said. "It's great this is saving energy for the community," said P.J. Mellana, community service supervisor of the Glendale Sports Complex. "Users who come during the day will still experience the cool rooms they are used to."

If the assessment of the device is promising, the city would look into its adoption for other structures, Glendale Mayor Rafi Manoukian said. "Hopefully this pilot will expand," he said. Ice Energy, LLC, is also working on manufacturing a smaller Ice Bear®device for use in residential structures, Gutierrez said.
(877) 5-ICEBEAR (877 542-3232)