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Navigating Moisture Management in Ice Halls: Insights from NERIS Report Part 1

In a partnership between KTH and EKA, the NERIS project—Nordicbuilt: Evaluation and Renovation of Ice halls and Swimming halls—commences its journey. This collaborative effort, led by KTH's Department of Building Science in Stockholm, Sweden, unveils the first installment of a four-part series. The report's focus is to unravel the intricate dynamics of moisture within ice halls and its profound impact on their functionality.


foggy ice rink
Fog under a game

Moisture's intricate role in ice hall sustainability takes center stage in this report. It begins with a succinct primer on crucial terminology, necessary for understanding moisture's physics. Backed by an array of field measurements from various ice halls, the report strives to capture the "real operational conditions" shaping these unique environments.


At its core, the NERIS project underscores the importance of maintaining optimal moisture levels and their meticulous control. Mastering humidity emerges as a linchpin in ensuring ice halls' operational vitality and longevity.

Within ice halls, moisture sources are divided into "external sources," like air leakage that introduces humid outdoor air, and "internal sources," including occupants, melting ice water, and evaporating ice pit water.


Air leakage emerges as the predominant moisture source. Leaks in the climate envelope draw outdoor air inside due to pressure disparities. Geographical factors also shape moisture load, minimizing the need for ventilation to introduce outdoor air. Fresh air intake should be regulated based on measured CO2 levels within the ice hall arena.

The report challenges the reliance on relative humidity (RH) and suggests using "dew point" and "moisture/steam ratio" for accurate humidity assessment.

An optimal dew point for ice halls is around 0°C to 2°C. Below 0°C, vaporization increases moisture load, while above 2°C risks undesired condensation on ice-cooled surfaces.


Energy usage across ice hall dehumidification systems is explored, revealing varied outcomes based on control strategies. Comparing "relative humidity" and "steam ratio/dew point" control, the latter adapts better. Relative humidity control often results in over-operation due to low indoor temperatures and elevated RH values.


Modern dehumidifiers can accommodate various control strategies, offering seamless transitions with proper knowledge.

Explore the complete NERIS report, a collaborative effort between KTH and EKA:


NERIS Part 1 Final version ENG
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Download PDF • 2.02MB

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