Lake Forest II Sun & Sail Club Swimming Complex Cogeneration System

Lake Forest, California

Lake Forest II Master Homeowner’s Association, located in Orange County, CA, has several pools and spas at their central recreation facility that require year-round heating to serve the community.  The HOA spends an average of $140,000 a year on electricity and $40,000 per year on natural gas. To reduce power and heating costs, the HOA considered alternative energy sources such as PV solar and thermal solar to power and heat it’s two Junior-Olympic pools (3,350 ft² each) and it’s Adult pool (2,200 ft²). However, the solar system was only projected to save approximately $12,500 per year (15+ year payback) and required additional reserves to be set aside to replace expensive inverters every 10 years and panels every 20 years.

PACE approached the Association with an alternative to use a small, 75 kW cogeneration module installed in the existing main pump room to provide both power and heat for the facilities.  PACE provided a turn-key proposal which included engineering, permitting, procurement, installation of equipment and start-up of the system.  Within the first year of operation there was a net cost savings of $40,000 while heating all three pools at the Lake Forest Club. In addition, due to the installation of the cogeneration unit, PACE was also able to negotiate a new small commercial rate with the gas company which reduced the price of fuel by 50%. With the new rate in place, the HOA saved $7,000 in the two months prior to the cogen unit even going on-line! In addition the clubhouse has also successfully decreased their carbon footprint by 54.1% by reducing their electricity consumption.

Heating of the pools and electric generation are optimized by a customized control system provided by PACE which allows for automatic unattended operation of the cogen system.  The control system continuously monitors and analyzes site power consumption and pool water temperatures so that power and heat are only generated when they can be consumed. The control system also monitors the electric utility loads so that even in the absence of heat demand, the cogen unit can run during “peak” demand periods, thereby minimizing “on peak” electric demand charges.  The entire control system was supplied with a secure internet connection which allows remote monitoring, control and data collection via an iPad or Windows PC.

Advanced Elements:

  • Reduced gas base rates to the HOA by 50% by re-classifying the use as commercial.
  • Successfully integrated the cogeneration unit within the existing pool equipment building.
  • Allowed for heating of all three pools year-round instead of one, while still realizing a 22% overall operations cost decrease.
  • Added a new automated controls system programmed to provide remote access to the system, pre-programmed triggers to activate the unit and complete operator control