Hotel Marcel New Haven becomes first certified Passive House hotel in U.S.

When architect and developer Bruce Redman Becker envisioned the opportunity to create Hotel Marcel New Haven, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (Conn.), which opened in May 2022, he wanted to create a hotel that operated fully on renewable energy, without any use of fossil fuels.

That vision is now a reality as Hotel Marcel has become the first Passive House-certified hotel in the country. The Passive House certification, managed by Passive House Institute, is the only internationally recognized performance standard for air tightness and energy consumption, verified with field-tested energy modeling. Worldwide, 5,629 buildings have been certified by Passive House Institute. Only 140 are in the United States and Hotel Marcel is the first hotel with more than 100 rooms to be certified in the world. 

Earlier this year, Hotel Marcel also became one of fewer than a dozen Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-certified hotels in the country, the highest level of LEED certification and the first since 2015 to receive this designation.

Additionally, the hotel was named the 2023 Association of Energy Engineers Regional Energy Project of the Year in the Northeast U.S. and is the first hotel in the country to receive this accolade. The award recognizes an innovative energy project and special consideration goes to developments that are “firsts of their kind” within the country in which they are created.

"I’ve always been interested in how I can use my talents to transform buildings and places in a way that has a positive outcome," Becker said in a statement. "It seemed to me that this was a perfect opportunity to build a hotel that really was part of the solution to the climate crisis."

The building that houses Hotel Marcel was originally designed in 1968 in a Brutalist architectural style by Marcel Breuer, a Bauhaus specialist whose teaching and innovative designs influenced a generation of midcentury modern architects. Originally housing offices for a tire company, the building sat vacant for two decades when Becker stepped in.

The building was redesigned with a holistic approach to sustainable design and operations, from its power-over-ethernet lighting system that reduced lighting energy use by more than 30 percent to its more than 1,000 solar panels that power the guestrooms, kitchen, laundry facilities and 7,000-square-foot meeting space. 

Sustainable measures also extend into hospitable service guests can expect, including:

  • Serving locally sourced menu items and organic wines at the hotel’s restaurant, BLDG.
  • Conserving waste through initiatives like repurposing kitchen scraps into healthy pet treats for dogs staying at the hotel.
  • 24 onsite charging stations available for guests and visitors with electric vehicles.
  • Providing electric transportation for guests to get around town in a repurposed battery-powered 2016 airport shuttle.

“What we’re learning is that guest comfort is enhanced when you take the more sustainable route,” Becker said, mentioning the triple-glazed glass windows in each guest room that not only reduce energy for the hotel but also block noise pollution for guests.