Town of Okotoks Recreation Centre REALice Retrofit

This project was funded through the Recreation Energy Conservation Program

Town of Okotoks

2021Completion Year

$39,580Project Cost

$5,748Cost Savings

$29,685MCCAC Funding

1.3Simple Payback Period

56,167kWh/yearElectrical Energy Savings

559GJ/yearNatural Gas Energy Savings

59tonnes CO2e/yearGHG Reductions

Greenhouse gas emissions reductions for this project are calculated based on Alberta’s Carbon Offset Emission Factors Handbook Version 2.0


As part of the MCCAC’s Recreation Energy Conservation (REC) program, the Town of Okotoks installed a REALice system at the Okotoks Recreation Centre. The facility houses three ice rinks, two of which are NHL size arenas. REALice is an energy-saving de-aerating system for ice rinks. It creates a controlled and structured vortex to remove gases and other particulates such as limescale as water flows through the device. REALice treated water eliminates the need to use heated water when building or resurfacing your ice and reduces compressor loads. The system has no moving parts and is easily integrated into existing piping systems.

The project was commissioned in July 2021.


This newly installed REALice system will help to reduce the costs of heating the water used to resurface the ice as well as the electricity costs associated with cooling the ice following resurfacing. This system eliminates the need for hot water when building and resurfacing ice by removing micro air bubbles from the incoming water resulting in lower natural gas consumption from hot water heaters and less load on compressors.


The REALice installation resulted in a reduction of 59 tCO2/year and an energy cost saving of $5,748.81/year. The system enabled the hot water heater setpoint temperature to be dropped from 170 F to 69 F. The project resulted in a 14% GHG reduction from the existing system and 2% reduction facility-wide from the baseline.

“It used to take a lot of heat and energy to warm up the water and get all the little micro-bubbles of air out of the water. Now we have this cool new technology that gets all the bubbles out through a vortex, it whips all the little bubbles out. Black Diamond, I think, is our closest neighbour that has gotten it. They have lots out in Vancouver, St. Albert. Lots more municipalities are moving forward with this kind of technology for the exact reason that it gives you quality ice for lower electrical cost and lower emissions. There were some preconceived notions out there. Somebody said, ‘Oh, I don’t think the ice is good.’ Then we talked to people, and they were like, ‘No the ice is great, and we’re saving tonnes of money.’ That’s a win-win to me.”

Sheri Young, Climate Change and Energy Specialist


Read more about the Recreation Energy Conservation Program