InterContinental Mark Hopkins Saves More than $80k with Intelligent Storage System

The InterContinental Mark Hopkins, a 19-story luxury hotel located in the heart of San Francisco, had tried numerous energy efficiency measures and technologies to reduce operational costs without sacrificing guest comfort. Yet, none of these adjustments addressed the hotel’s peak energy demand, a costly variable that is factored into all commercial energy bills.
Commercial energy bills are broken down into two main components: the total amount of energy used over the billing cycle and the demand charge. The demand charge represents a business’ peak energy usage over a 15-minute interval.
For the InterContinental Mark Hopkins, demand charges made up approximately 30 to 40 percent of monthly energy bills. The hotel ran HVAC, elevators and laundry equipment around the clock—all of which are energy-intensive and costly to operate, especially when run simultaneously. The hotel needed a solution to address its costly demand charges without impacting hotel operations. The ideal solution would also give facility managers greater visibility into real-time energy use to continue making adjustments and improvements over time.
Smart system learns from and optimizes energy usage
Since intelligent energy storage is the only technology that addresses demand charges, the Mark Hopkins implemented Stem’s advanced storage system, comprised of reliable lithium-ion battery hardware and predictive software. Stem’s software platform would offer facility managers a complete view of electricity usage—past, present and future—to analyze patterns and identify energy savings opportunities. The Stem system would also continually learn and optimize energy usage.

In addition to Stem’s technology features, the company’s unique financing model made it an attractive solution for the hotel. With guaranteed savings from day one and no upfront costs, what would otherwise have been a major CAPEX decision became a manageable monthly OPEX decision.
From the time the Mark Hopkins decided to move forward with Stem, Stem’s dedicated customer service team took over, handling everything from siting to utility interconnection and rebate processing. The system, which is about the size of a small gym locker, was installed in less than a day. After installation, the customer service team provided software training and ongoing support. The Mark Hopkins activated its Stem system on March 17, 2014 and noticed immediate savings following system activation.
Once installed, Stem’s software revealed a previously hidden savings opportunity: an anomaly in the Mark Hopkins’ building management system had been causing the facilities team to underestimate the chiller’s energy usage. With this finding from Stem’s software, the Mark Hopkins was able to initiate adjustments and safeguards to reduce overall energy consumption. Next, the Mark Hopkins utilized Stem’s automated alerts to keep tabs on the chiller’s energy demand. Whenever the chiller’s load was expected to exceed a pre-set usage amount, the hotel’s facility manager received alerts on his iPad with enough advance notice to make adjustments.
Once these initial adjustments were made, the Mark Hopkins further utilized Stem’s advance storage system to keep energy usage low on an ongoing basis without sacrificing guest comfort. Now, whenever Stem’s software detects a spike in energy demand, the storage system automatically deploys stored energy to counteract the spike.
To date the Mark Hopkins will save more than $80k over a 10-year period using Stem’s advanced storage system. Building on the Mark Hopkins’ initial success with Stem, the InterContinental Hotels Group plans to install Stem systems in 10 additional properties including Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inns and Crowne Plazas across California.
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