Hotel Marcel will be world’s most energy efficient


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A transformation is underway inside a 54-year-old former rubber factory.


The building’s facade, designed by renowned architect Marcel Breuer, would remain unchanged, but everything within the walls, known as the Pirelli Building in New Haven, Connecticut, was redesigned and remodeled with a clear and “clean” purpose. has gone.

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“We will be building one of the most sustainable hotels in the country,” said Bruce Redman Baker FAIA, Lead AP Architect and Developer at Baker + Baker.

When it is completed later this year, Hotel Marseille will be the first and only net-zero hotel in the United States.

“No fossil fuels will be used at this hotel and any energy we use will be produced on site,” Baker explained.

This is a grand achievement in an industry that has historically been far from energy-efficient. The hotel segment uses a lot of energy as hotels are usually occupied 24/7. Lights and air conditioning are always on.

Baker purchased the building from Ikea, the most recent owner of the Pirelli Building. The hotel shares a lot in common with the New Haven outpost of budget Swedish furniture stores. He conceived the project and oversaw all phases.

The 1,000 solar panels will create enough electricity to heat and cool the entire 156-room hotel and power the lighting and energy for the building’s kitchen and laundry, which will be electricity.

“Indeed, very few hotels use all-electric mechanical systems, and I’m not sure if there are electric kitchens and electric laundry,” Baker said. “And the interesting thing is that these technologies are available and they have been available for decades. But it hasn’t really been a big priority until people have recognized the importance of moving away from fossil fuels until recently.”

At Hotel Marseille, that extends from solar panels on the roof to special leak-free insulation in the walls.

“It’s essentially like building a thermos out of an exterior wall,” Baker explained.

Triple-glaze windows keep temperatures steady and noise out, special heat pumps provide heating and cooling with all-electric renewable energy, and Ethernet cables power LED lights.

This comes in at a cost of about $50 million for the entire retrofit, but it’s a cost that, over time, will pay for itself, Baker says.

“Every decision we’ve made as architects and developers, we’ve made with an eye toward minimizing energy needs, using existing technologies, and then building that energy on site,” he said.

The hotel will be operated by Hilton, which says it understands that the success of its business is tied to its ability to operate and grow sustainably.

“Many travelers want sustainable options when they travel, they want to feel good about how they are spending their money,” said Pauline Frommers, editorial director of

According to a June survey of 29,000 travelers by the site, 81% of travelers say they want to live in a permanent residence next year.

“People are really drawn to sustainable travel,” Baker said. “If they have the option of living in a place that has a commitment to sustainability, that doesn’t give us a marketing advantage.”

Frommer predicts that many other hoteliers will be watching the success of Hotel Marseille closely.

“I think if they are successful it will show other hoteliers that this is something that people wish they would pay for, and we should do it too,” she said.

Marketing advantage or not, Baker says the hospitality industry and the construction industry, in general, don’t have much choice when planning for the future.

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