During the research for my article on energy storage systems (article posted last week on the Green Lodging News website) it was my intent to chat with Nick Bozych, Vice President and General Manager of the Lafayette Park Hotel and Spa in Lafayette, Calif. The Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa is a French Chateau-style property centrally located in Lafayette near the business centers of Walnut Creek, Concord, San Ramon and Oakland, and a 30-minute drive from San Francisco. The Lafayette Park Hotel has 138 guest rooms, European style day spa, restaurant, bar and over 10,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space. The property installed an energy storage system earlier this year to help reduce demand charges. Unfortunately, I did not receive the answers to the questions posed to Nick until after the article was posted. Here then are the questions followed by the answers.
1. How long have you been working with Stem, Inc.? When was Stem’s energy storage system installed? If you happen to know, what size of a system was installed?
The Stem system was installed earlier this spring and is a 36 kW/60 kWh system.
2. To what degree were peak demand charges an issue at your hotel?
Demand charges represent about 40 to 50 percent of our electricity bill during the year. Prior to Stem the only way to address demand charges was to change how we operated the building, for example like limiting air conditioner use during the summer months.
3. Were you doing other things to reduce electricity consumption?
We converted our lighting throughout the property to LED. Upgraded our chillers, boilers and cooling tower to high efficiency units.
4. How is the system working for you? Do you know how much money it is saving you on a monthly basis? Even an approximation is fine.
Last month the Stem system saved 20 percent of the demand charge portion of my electric bill, which came out to about 9 percent savings off my total bill. The demand charges are the hardest part to address, since energy efficiency investments typically don’t have any effect on it. Stem runs in the background and allows us to tackle demand charges without changing the way we run the building. Stem’s software also helps in addressing these charges. It provides both predicted and real time—by the second—visibility so I can now see when a peak is coming up for the day, and precisely when it’s happening.
5. Were you/Stem able to take advantage of any utility incentives as part of the installation?
The Stem system is part of California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program that covers a portion of the system cost. Stem handles all of the paperwork, from application to filing, and included this incentive in the cost of the system.
6. Any advice you might offer to anyone thinking about getting this type of system?
The Stem system was a simple way to decrease my demand costs and lower operational costs for the hotel. The system runs in the background and doesn’t require me to change anything about my operations. Stem was great and took care of the entire installation process.