Hilton to open the country’s first net-zero hotel in May

Apr 30, 2022

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Sustainability has become a top priority for many travelers, and major hotel brands have started to incorporate eco-friendly initiatives into their luxury properties. Fewer than 12 hotels in the U.S., however, are certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum — the green building rating system’s highest level of structural efficiency and sustainability.

The country’s first LEED Platinum hotel — the Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina — opened in 2008. This property was followed by others including the W San Francisco; Bardessono in Yountville, California; the Hotel Skyler Syracuse in Syracuse, New York; and the Element Denver International Airport.

This spring, Hilton will join these superstars of sustainability when it opens the first net-zero hotel in New Haven, Connecticut.

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The Hotel Marcel New Haven, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, is set to be entirely electric. It will use renewable solar power to generate energy for the hotel’s guest rooms and suites as well as for all its restaurant and all common areas. Because the hotel will operate independent of fossil fuels, the result is a net-zero carbon emissions building.

In addition to the LEED Platinum certification, the Hotel Marcel New Haven is expected to garner the first Passive House certification for hotels in the country. Passive House is a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, resulting in ultra-low energy requirements for heating and cooling.

Reservations will be accepted beginning May 19, and nightly rates start at $198. Hilton Honors members can book stays for 59,000 points per night.

A historical building with new purpose

Lead architect, developer and owner Bruce Redman Becker bought and is reimagining a 1970 building that originally housed the Armstrong Rubber Company headquarters and later the Pirelli Tire company. Becker, president of the eco-conscious architecture firm Becker + Becker, modernized the building with sustainability in mind at every turn.

(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

Related: The 6 best eco-friendly hotels in England

“With the climate crisis and continued use of fossil fuels posing an existential threat to humanity, I felt an obligation to build a building that can serve as a model for environmental sustainability,” Becker said in a statement. “The question should not be why are we doing this but why isn’t everyone else?”

The property, which is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places, was originally designed by Brutalist Bauhaus master architect Marcel Breuer, who lends the hotel its name. The New Haven landmark is located in the Long Wharf neighborhood about 3 miles from downtown and Yale University; it sits just off Interstate 95 across from the city waterfront, and is also near the city’s Union Station, which serves Amtrak and Metro-North.

Much of the building, which sat empty for years, is recycled. Becker reused or repurposed original light fixtures, restored wood-paneled walls and upgraded existing infrastructure to enhance temperature control and air quality. The refurbishment of the building helped reduce lighting energy use in the hotel by 30%, using a power-over-ethernet (PoE) system.

Eco-friendly upgrades are good for guests, too

Green design and sustainable adjustments to the building are not only good for the planet — they’re good for guests, too.

The triple-glazed windows provide ultra-efficient insulation to stabilize guest room temperatures, even in direct sunlight, while reducing noise pollution. Plus, guests who arrive by electric vehicle can enjoy the convenience of 12 Tesla Superchargers or universal Level 2 chargers to power up their rides. The parking canopies are outfitted with solar panels to capture the sun’s rays and convert them into energy for the hotel.

Related: 8 sustainable travel tips from expert green travelers

The eco-friendly theme continues into the dining experiences at the hotel. The on-site restaurant, BLDG (pronounced “building” when you make a reservation), features locally sourced ingredients and a wine list of biodynamic and organic wines from Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Chile and California. The restaurant’s kitchen and the hotel’s laundry room use electrical power instead of natural gas; the kitchen also uses energy-efficient induction heat for cooking.

The hotel also offers a boutique with a grab-and-go area filled with healthy snacks, a fitness center, pet-friendly rooms and more than 9,000 square feet of meeting space, including eight breakout rooms.

Hilton and Hotel Marcel partnership

Hilton’s Tapestry Collection family is a natural fit for Hotel Marcel’s vision, as the brand features a portfolio of more than 70 handpicked independent hotels, each with a unique story. This fits the Hotel Marcel’s sustainability story — a real-world case study of the three Rs: “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Plus, Hotel Marcel lends the brand an inspiring narrative about breathing new life into an New Haven architectural landmark.

Related: 9 unique hotel amenities that will make your next business trip so much better

Adding the Hotel Marcel to Hilton’s Tapestry Collection furthers the hotel brand’s Travel with Purpose program, a strategy used to encourage responsible travel and tourism globally. The program helps to create a positive social and environmental impact throughout Hilton’s global hotel operations and supply chain. This initiative is paying off with major recognition: In 2020, Hilton was named a Global Industry Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for the second consecutive year.

And of course there’s the bragging rights Hilton garners from opening the first net-zero hotel in the country.

“Hotel Marcel New Haven will connect travelers with the New Haven area while inspiring them to incorporate sustainability into every aspect of their stay,” Jenna Hackett, global brand head of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton, said in a statement.

Bottom line

Sustainable travel will continue to be a major draw for consumers, who are calling on hotel brands to integrate these environmentally conscious initiatives into their offerings. Many LEED-certified hotels are located in college towns, so if you’re planning to visit a college or university, check the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website before booking your stay.

The better for the planet, the better for us all.

Featured photo courtesy of Hilton.

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