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Lafayette Hotel Case Study

Historic Hotel Sets New Green Standard with Fuel Cell Combined Heat and Power

Lafayette Hotel CHP
A big part of the renovation was looking at how we could incorporate sustainable business practices as that was a key component to the overall project financing.

- Jay Wentz, managing partner of Hampstead Lafayette LLC

Built in 1946, the Lafayette Hotel was once a retreat for the rich and famous. By 2010, the historic San Diego landmark was in need of extensive remodeling and a creative approach was necessary in order to comply with historic preservation guidelines. The solution was to install a 40-kW fuel cell energy system, hidden in the basement, to generate power and heat on site and to implement facility-wide energy efficiency upgrades.

The building owners were able to take advantage of the Self-Generation Incentive Program as well as other lucrative tax credits to increase the property's value, significantly reduce its energy consumption and utility costs and eliminate 100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

electricity saving
$30,000 annual electrical savings
CO2 savings
80% annual electric savings (582,880 kWh)
CO2 savings
41% CO2 reduction
payback time
5.8 year payback

The hotel now meets ENERGY STAR certification while maintaining its historic designation—the first in the region.

The ClearEdge Power natural-gas fuel cell system generates 45 percent of the building's electricity. In addition, as a byproduct, the cogeneration fuel cell system produces enough heat to help warm the hotel's Olympic-size swimming pool.

Before and After Comparison
(includes fuel cells and energy upgrades)

Annual Gas Usage (before/after): 16,691 therms/32,446 therms
Annual Electrical Usage (before/after): 732,000 kWh/149,120 kWh
Annual Utility Bill Before Installation: $125,246
Annual Utility Bill After Installation: $64,818

Projected annual savings based on monthly savings of $5,036 in January 2012 vs. January 2010. Rated gas and electricity usage and projected usage post-upgrade are based on customer's engineering estimate, as well as an energy assessment of customer bills by ClearEdge Power analysts. In addition, as a byproduct, the cogeneration fuel cell system produces enough heat to help warm the hotel's Olympic-size swimming pool.

The Lafayette Hotel is setting an excellent example for hotels across the nation, and we are pleased to have helped bring an important San Diego landmark back to life.

- Neal Starling, ClearEdge Power senior vice president

Quick Facts

System Owner

The Lafayette Hotel San Diego, California

Hotel Profile

Hotel Size: 131 rooms
Olympic-size swimming pool (heated)
Year built: 1946

Project Savings

SGIP rebate: $100,000
Projected annual savings: $30,000
Anticipated Payback: 5.8 years

Fuel Cell System Specifications

Manufacturer: ClearEdge Power
Total Capacity: 40 kW
Fuel source: Natural gas
Fuel Consumption: ~ .38 mmbtu/hr (HHV)