Currently Reading

The first net-zero hotel in the U.S. is nearing completion in Connecticut

Adaptive Reuse

The first net-zero hotel in the U.S. is nearing completion in Connecticut

Solar arrays will provide the electricity for the Hotel Marcel, whose name recalls the building’s original designer.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | August 25, 2021
Aerial view of Hotel Marcel in Connecticut

Nearly 1,100 solar panels will provide all of the electricity for Hotel Marcel, under construction in Connecticut. Images: Becker + Becker Associates

Sometime in late Spring of next year, the Hotel Marcel in New Haven, Conn., is scheduled to open. This 110,000-sf, 165-room hotel is being touted by its developer as the first net-zero carbon hotel in the U.S., and its transformation is guided by Passive House and LEED Platinum certification standards.

The former Pirelli Building—named after the famed tire company that bought it as part of Pirelli’s acquisition of Armstrong Tire—was designed in 1967 in the Brutalist style by architect Marcel Breuer. The furniture retailer IKEA, which operates a warehouse right next door, bought the building in 2003, but never used it. In 2018, the city granted permission to repurpose the building—located within New Haven’s Long Wharf district and two miles from Yale University—as a hotel.

The developer Becker + Becker Associates purchased the property—which is listed on the National Historic Register—in January 2020 for a reported $1.2 million. The firm’s President, Bruce Redman Becker, FAIA, AICP, LEED AP, is also the architect on this $50 million restoration project, which will be operated by Chesapeake Hospitality and fall under Hilton’s Tapestry Collection brand. Ten percent of the hotel’s furnishings, including kitchen and vanity countertops, is being supplied by IKEA. The project’s interior designer is Dutch East Design.

 

DESIGN-BID-BUILD, BUT WITH MORE COLLABORATION

IKEA operates a retail warehouse next to the Pirelli Building

The furniture retailer IKEA owned the Pirelli Building for decades, but never put it to use.

 

Becker’s interest in sustainable design dates back decades. In 2004, he initiated the “Energy Efficient Housing Technical Correction Act” with New York Congresswoman Carolyn Mahoney. Becker also designed and developed the first two apartment buildings in the U.S. to be powered and heated by a fuel cell.

That latter work drew the attention of the national contractor Consigli, which is serving as Construction Manager for the Hotel Marcel’s adaptive reuse and historic rehabilitation.

“It was a unique challenge to have a relationship with an architect-owner, and to work collaboratively on design details as they came up,” says Aaron Krueger, LEED AP, Project Manager for Consigli, whom BD+C interviewed with Steven Burke, LEED and WELL Faculty, CPHC, Consigli’s Director of Sustainability.

Consigli came on board in 2019, recalls Krueger, when Becker was looking for a preconstruction partner. Consigli worked with the developer on budgeting as well. (Procurement for this project was unusual, says Krueger, in that Becker himself bought the 1,072 solar panels that will power the hotel from their perches on its roof and parking structure; as well as the building’s windows, which were subject to approval along historic criteria.)

Burke says that, prior to its involvement in Hotel Marcel, Consigli had worked on projects powered by renewable energy before: it currently has eight projects being built to achieve net-zero carbon, and six being built to Passive House standards. (Because Hotel Marcel is a retrofit, its Building Team has been following the International Passive House standard.)

 

SETTING THE BAR FOR HOTEL ENERGY EFFICIENCY

One of the rooms in Hotel Marcel

The Hilton Tapestry-branded Hotel Marcel will offer 165 rooms and suites.

 

The solar arrays will provide 100% of Hotel Marcel’s electricity for lighting, heating, and cooling. The hotel will include among its amenities 12 on-site Tesla superchargers for electric vehicles. Other sustainable features include Mitsubishi variable refrigerated flow air-source heat pumps, an energy recovery system, and recycled and local construction materials. All lighting will be low-voltage power-over-ethernet LED technology. Energy Use Intensity Rating is projected to be 34 kBtu/ft^2, which is 80% less energy than median EUI for hotels in the United States.

All told, Hotel Marcel is aiming to be 60% more energy efficient than code requirements. To hit that target, the Building Team applied spray foam insulation to seal and increase the R-value of the structure’s exterior, which was tricky, says Krueger, because historic preservation requirements limited the extent to which the building’s precast panels could be altered. (Steven Winter Associates is this project’s engineering consultant, and will conduct a whole-building air-barrier test upon completion of this rehabilitation.)

Some of the project’s other challenges included the fact that the building “was filled with hazardous materials, and there was little access to the inside, which really wasn’t abated until last summer,” says Krueger.

Once completed, the building’s penthouse will serve as a 7,000-sf event space for the hotel. Consigli, says Burke, hopes this project becomes an example for future historic restorations that are economically feasible to execute.

Related Stories

Adaptive Reuse | Aug 13, 2021

Developers are repositioning vacant space as charter schools

Transwestern is working with the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools to provide a turnkey solution.

Hotel Facilities | Jun 18, 2021

Adaptive reuse for hospitality, with Frank Cretella of Landmark Developers

In an exclusive interview for HorizonTV, Landmark Developers' President Frank Cretella talks about the firm's adaptive reuse projects for the hospitality sector. Cretella outlines his company's keys to success in hospitality development, including finding unique properties and creating memorable spaces.

Adaptive Reuse | Jun 2, 2021

An old Ford factory in Pittsburgh is being adapted to become a biomedical research facility

This is the latest step in the city’s post-industrial resurgence.

Adaptive Reuse | Apr 15, 2021

The Weekly Show, Apr 15, 2021: The ins and outs of adaptive reuse, and sensors for real-time construction monitoring

This week on The Weekly show, BD+C editors speak with AEC industry leaders from PBDW Architects and Wohlsen Construction about what  makes adaptive reuse projects successful, and sensors for real-time monitoring of concrete construction.

Adaptive Reuse | Feb 24, 2021

Adaptive reuse project brings co-living space to Los Angeles’s Hancock Park

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects is designing the project.

Adaptive Reuse | Feb 14, 2021

Three adaptive reuse projects will add housing in Wisconsin

Historic tax credits helped pave the way, but preservation required creative solutions.

Multifamily Housing | Jan 20, 2021

Abandoned Miami hospital gets third life as waterfront condo development

The 1920s King Cole Hotel becomes the Ritz-Carlton Residences Miami in the largest residential adaptive reuse project in South Florida.

Adaptive Reuse | Dec 17, 2020

A train engine repair building is turned into an innovation center that’s part of a massive riverfront redevelopment in Pittsburgh

The adaptive reuse of the Roundhouse is the latest step forward for Hazelwood Green.

Adaptive Reuse | Oct 26, 2020

Mall property redevelopments could result in dramatic property value drops

Retail conversions to fulfillment centers, apartments, schools, or medical offices could cut values 60% to 90%.

Adaptive Reuse | Oct 22, 2020

A Los Angeles design firm reimagines urban workplaces, multifamily buildings, and warehouses

Omgivning conjures varieties of adaptive-reuse concepts.  

More In Category





Magazine Subscription
Subscribe

Get our Newsletters

Each day, our editors assemble the latest breaking industry news, hottest trends, and most relevant research, delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe

Follow BD+C: