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See Inside the Meeting Space at the First U.S. Hotel to Operate Only on Renewable Energy

In honor of Earth Day, BizBash sat down with the general manager of Hotel Marcel, the first hotel in the nation to produce 100% of its own electricity.

Hotel Marcel debuted in New Haven, Conn., in 2022 in a converted 1970s brutalist office building that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hotel Marcel debuted in New Haven, Conn., in 2022 in a converted 1970s brutalist office building that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Marcel

Having an environmentally friendly mindset is now the standard in hospitality. And yet, it wasn’t until Hotel Marcel opened its doors in summer 2022 that the U.S. touted a hotel that entirely ditched fossil fuels and solely operated on renewable energy.

Hotel Marcel, part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, occupies a converted 1970s brutalist office building in New Haven, Conn., that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It once served as Armstrong Rubber Company’s headquarters and was later dubbed the Pirelli Tire Building. The hotel nods to its historical roots with its name—which is in honor of the property’s Hungarian American architect, Marcel Breuer—but has otherwise transformed cubicles into 165 guest rooms, and offices into more than 9,000 sprawling square feet of gathering space. Hotel Marcel offers 9,000 sprawling square feet of gathering space, including prefunction (pictured) and designated venue areas, as well as eight meeting rooms, including five on its top floor.Hotel Marcel offers 9,000 sprawling square feet of gathering space, including prefunction (pictured) and designated venue areas, as well as eight meeting rooms, including five on its top floor.Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Marcel

Most notably, in each of its eight meeting rooms and venue spaces—the largest of which can accommodate 275 guests—the hotel has abandoned old-school methods of burning fossil fuels to power the nine-floor structure in favor of electric and solar power.

Aside from nifty, sustainability-focused touches for its guests like mobile key room entry and glass instead of single-use plastics at every visitor touchpoint, Hotel Marcel looks to entice green-thinking meeting and event planners with sustainability efforts that its general manager, Ben Webster, says “permeates throughout the venue spaces.”

“Highlights include multiple electric vehicle charging stations for those traveling to events with EVs, an electric hotel shuttle to pick up guests from the nearby Amtrak Union Station, electric kitchen services used for catering, and electric heating and cooling throughout each of the spaces," he says.
As a hotel that powers itself using an on-site microgrid, it's only natural that Hotel Marcel's F&B program exclusively features local ingredients “from farms and suppliers that do not use pesticides, which have a significant impact on local water supplies,” general manager Ben Webster explains.As a hotel that powers itself using an on-site microgrid, it's only natural that Hotel Marcel's F&B program exclusively features local ingredients “from farms and suppliers that do not use pesticides, which have a significant impact on local water supplies,” general manager Ben Webster explains.Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Marcel

So, what does going electric here actually mean? Hotel Marcel has established a unique microgrid outfitted with power inverters and lithium batteries that “enables our meetings and events spaces, and the entire hotel, to be operated as a venue that has no fossil fuels,” Webster explains.

Elsewhere on the property—including on the rooftop and atop parking structures—are solar panels that also ensure Hotel Marcel generates 100% of its own electricity. As a result, “Hotel Marcel has a carbon reduction impact equivalent to creating 846 acres of mature forest each year,” Webster says.

Hotel Marcel also infuses this ethos into its on-site restaurant, BLDG, where everything is cultivated from within a 250-mile radius of the hotel, “from farms and suppliers that do not use pesticides, which have a significant impact on local water supplies,” Webster says. It’s this level of attention to detail that contributed to the hotel's LEED Platinum certification.BuildGreenCT, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, New England EV summit, Conscious Capitalism, and many other regional groups have sought out Hotel Marcel as their event venue because of its zero-emissions pledge. (Pictured: The ninth-floor, 4,441-square-foot meeting space dubbed Loggia.)BuildGreenCT, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, New England EV summit, Conscious Capitalism, and many other regional groups have sought out Hotel Marcel as their event venue because of its zero-emissions pledge. (Pictured: The ninth-floor, 4,441-square-foot meeting space dubbed Loggia.)Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Marcel

And because it’s the first of its kind in the U.S., rather than being inspired by another hotel, Hotel Marcel “was created to inspire others,” Webster says. The property “has entirely disrupted the hospitality industry,” and looks to serve as a “model showing that it is possible to offer a luxury hotel experience with no emissions [that] doesn’t sacrifice on quality.”

As a result, BuildGreenCT, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships, New England EV summit, Conscious Capitalism, and many other regional groups have sought out Hotel Marcel as their event venue because of its zero-emissions pledge, Webster notes.

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