Lumin® Energy Management Platform Deploys ‘Power Where Needed’ at Cliffside Microgrid / Airbnb in the Wine Country of the Santa Cruz Mountains

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When homeowner David Butler bought “Cliff House,” a 5,000 square foot home wedged into the northern California cliffs of Santa Cruz, he envisioned a peaceful retreat for his guests who came for the stunning vistas and nearby vineyards. He quickly realized the electricity required to keep the home humming when fully occupied would rack up $1500 monthly power bills–motivating him to work towards making the retreat more energy efficient.

Then came 2019, when frequent natural and mandated power outages (a dozen by David’s count) lasting 3-5 days and sometimes longer, demanded a serious resiliency plan. In addition to the fragility of the California grid, Cliffside is a home with some quirks. For example, the unique terrain ruled out alternate power sources such as propane or geothermal. A new HVAC system was step one in creating efficiencies from the bottom up. Step two was adding PV, but to really make a dent in the power bills, energy storage was going to be a critical component of David’s design.

As a thriving BNB, Cliff House is often booked to max capacity with 10-12 guests drawing on power at any given time. 4 private suites, several indoor common rooms, various terraces and decks for viewing, wine coolers, hot tubs, a state-of-the-art kitchen with loads of appliances and landscape lighting to set the mood all combine for a backup power challenge. Further, guests on holiday don’t want to be in the dark or limited to just a few circuits. David had to have a way to properly manage his guests’ energy consumption and get real-time data immediately alerting him of outages.

Enter the Lumin Energy Management Platform. David wanted to control 24 circuits throughout Cliff House, especially the difficult-to-access outlets and appliances in the remote suites and on the private decks. Although the storage design included 6 Pika batteries, a load shedding strategy would be needed to optimize the stored power during an extended outage.

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The fact that I can do so remotely without hindering my guests’ privacy or comfort is a game changer. Having remote intelligence about the energy consumption at Cliff House and the control to deploy power where needed is a model of energy efficiency and just really smart climate tech.
— David Butler, Homeowner / Cliff House Proprietor

RESULTS

  • Cliff House is a highly energy efficient and operational microgrid with energy bills down to $30 monthly (from $1500).
  • The micro grid enables off grid living during outages and self-powers with solar + energy storage. The Generac Automatic Transfer Switch islands the home from the gird in the event of an outage and allows for nearly seamless transition from grid power to solar / battery power.
  • In Lumin’s “off-grid mode” the system automatically sheds the largest loads to optimize battery storage for energy that can be deployed where guests need it.
  • In day-to-day operation, difficult-to-access appliances are easier to turn off remotely with Lumin (outdoor hot tubs).
  • Through Lumin Insights David is able to compare the old HVAC system to the new system with Lumin’s granular energy data and see the energy savings of the efficient system.
  • David is also able to easily uncover energy hogs through Lumin Insights that he was unaware of previously.

According to David, “In addition to load shedding in off-grid mode, Lumin allows me to load swap different areas of the house depending on occupancy. The fact that I can do so remotely without hindering my guest’s privacy or comfort is a game changer. Having remote intelligence about the energy consumption at Cliff House and the control to deploy power where needed is a model of energy efficiency and just really smart climate tech. Lumin enabled my microgrid to operate the way I had envisioned it could and it was great fun to put the system together and see it working.”

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