Hotel Marcel Achieves Unmatched Sustainability in the Lodging Industry

Updated: December 2023
Hotel Marcel

In many contexts, being passive means inertness or lack of active participation in a cause, agency or initiative. When it comes to being Passive-house certified, however, such thinking could not be further from the truth since this is the strictest energy-efficient global standard a building can achieve.

Passive-house certification signifies a building is designed and constructed to consume dramatically less energy than typical buildings. 

Hotel Marcel, a 110,000-square-foot rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the New Haven, Conn., historic Pirelli Building, has raised the bar for sustainable hospitality. The destination that sat for 20+ years vacant is like the Phoenix rising since becoming the first Passive-house certified, zero-emission hotel in the United States.

The all-electric property boasts a projected energy use intensity (EUI) of 80% less than the median U.S. hotel’s EUI − paving the way for a more sustainable hospitality industry. The hotel has achieved such status by featuring some of the latest technology. 

Choosing variable-capacity heating and cooling 

Rather than going with a conventional, fossil fuel HVAC system, Hotel Marcel management selected Mitsubishi Electric CITY MULTI® air-source Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) solution, complemented by energy recovery ventilators (ERV) for the property’s heating, cooling and ventilation requirements. The system is more environmentally friendly than conventional HVACs.

VRF systems move heat via refrigerant between an outdoor unit and indoor units. Each outdoor unit can connect to up to 50 indoor units. Linear expansion valves (LEV) and INVERTER-driven, variable-capacity compressors allow for energy-efficient operation and customized temperature control for the various zones served by indoor units. 

With zoning possible through VRF, guests and staff choose their preferred temperatures, whether in their room or office – improving the overall experience for both. 

Relying on all-electric water heating

Hotel Marcel marks one of the first installations of Heat2O®, Mitsubishi Electric’s all-electric solution for commercial, high-volume domestic hot water. The hotel installed three Heat2O units, totaling 120 kilowatts (409,000 BTU/H) of heating capacity. 

Heat2O uses natural CO2 refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) of one and an ozone depletion potential (ODP) of zero. The solution delivers more than four times the energy as heat than the system consumes in electricity needed for hotel operation. Heat2O economically manages all hotel water-heating needs. 

Ensuring a climate- and guest-friendly experience

Along with being outfitted with an efficient all-electric mechanical system, Hotel Marcel has a 1,000+ panel solar array on the parking canopies, helping the property reach its sustainability initiatives. Customized Diamond Controls™ solutions allow Hotel Marcel’s management team to control heating, cooling and water needs within a singular platform for optimal guest experience.

At the same time, the controls solution empowers Hotel Marcel building management to better monitor efficiencies and respond quickly to energy-usage fluctuations. 

Setting the green standard for hotels

The World Economic Forum (WEF) found 90% of business leaders think sustainability is important, yet only 60% of organizations have climate-friendly strategies. When bringing Hotel Marcel back to life, the team in charge knew the importance of revitalizing the historic building into an energy-efficient hotel that met green certifications.

Investors and consumers alike expect companies to be more proactive in working toward sustainability. Today, travelers crave comfort along with sustainability. 

Hotel Marcel is a model of sustainability, reducing its impact on the world by investing in all-electric HVAC, heat pump water heaters and integrated controls from Mitsubishi Electric. 

Download the case study.

Passive house
Energy Efficiency
Variable-Capacity Heat Pumps
All-Electric Heat Pumps