Historic Lafayette Hotel installs highly efficient fuel cell
The 1940s Hollywood-era Lafayette Hotel in San Diego was the scene of a celebration and switching on of a 40- kilowatt ClearEdge Power fuel cell system on May 9. During ceremonies, CCSE Managing Director Peter Hamilton presented the hotel’s owners with $100,000 rebate check from the Self-Generation Incentive Program ( SGIP).
“We wanted to combine the Hollywood history embodied in this hotel from the forties and fifties with a present day urban chic, boutique feel,” said Jay Wentz, managing partner of Hampstead Lafayette LLC, the partnership that owns the hotel. “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.”
A San Diego landmark, The Lafayette Hotel was once a retreat for the rich and famous with guests including Hollywood stars Bob Hope, Betty Grable, Ava Gardner and “Tarzan” actor Johnny Weissmuller, who also designed the hotel’s swimming pool. By 2010, the aging property, comprised of seven buildings, 131 guest rooms and an Olympic-sized pool, needed to be completely remodeled.
With the ClearEdge Power fuel cell system, the hotel aims to reduce its annual energy costs by approximately $30,000, while eliminating 100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Housed in the basement of the hotel’s main building, the system does not affect the building’s exterior appearance and generates 45 percent of the building’s electricity. In addition, as a byproduct of the electrochemical process the ClearEdge system uses to convert natural gas to electricity, it produces enough heat to help warm the hotel’s large 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,” said Neal Starling, ClearEdge senior vice president. “It has an impressive focus on sustainability and this project clearly demonstrates the economic and financial benefits that fuel cell technologies can deliver to the hospitality industry.”