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Hotel Marcel: The World's First Net-Zero Hotel

October 19, 2021


In the heart of New Haven, CT lies a building that will catch your eye and make you look twice. That building is, the Hotel Marcel. The architecture is a unique geometric shape covered by a concrete exterior, with the structure appearing to be floating. Featuring a Brutalist, Bauhaus design, the building has become a landmark in the New Haven area. However, this property is about to become far more than a concrete object. It will be the world’s first net-zero hotel. 

The Story Behind Hotel Marcel

500 Sargent Drive, sat empty for more than 20 years. The space, which originally housed the headquarters of Marcel Breuer’s Armstrong Rubber Company was nearly torn down to make way for more parking after being purchased by a nearby store. However, in December of 2020, Bruce Becker, a developer, and architect, purchased the property with the hopes of creating an innovative hotel in the space. 


With a drive for sustainability and green building practices, Becker set out to find the technology that would help him reach his goal of building the world’s first net-zero hotel. Sustainable buildings were a large part of his career and an interest to Becker in previous projects, and this hotel was no different. 

The Technology in the Project

In order to become net-zero, the Hotel Marcel needed to generate 100% of the electricity, heat, and hot water used in their hotel operations. Too meet this goal, Becker chose to work with several sustainable and innovative companies including Igor and Sinclair Digital to bring PoE power and smart building technology into the mix. 


One of the first features you will notice at the new Hotel Marcel is the expansive solar panels that cover the rooftop and parking canopies. The solar power created by these panels will provide 100% of the energy needed for lighting, HVAC, electric car charging stations and more. With additional energy efficiency enhancing technology, these solar panels will generate more than enough power to keep operations running from day to day.  


Each of the hotel’s 165 guest rooms, 8 meeting rooms and 9,922 square feet of event space will be enhanced and more energy efficient with the introduction of smart building technology, powered by a power-over-ethernet backbone. The property will play host to PoE energy efficient lighting and PoE-powered sensors to lower energy consumption and help the hotel reach net-zero energy.  

Why Choose PoE and IoT Technology

Why PoE and DC power for this project? Using DC power provides more autonomy when it comes to a power system. Because DC power can be generated via solar panels, the Hotel Marcel can distribute and use power with more flexibility. A DC powered system contributes to the sustainability of the hotel given the efficiency of the solution which operates without the need for power conversions present in a traditional AC system, ultimately ending in significant energy waste. 


Using PoE power in conjunction with smart building IoT technology is leading the way for achieving net-zero energy at the Hotel Marcel. The integration possibilities with PoE and DC power are essentially endless and will allow the Hotel Marcel make use of several sustainable practices. Using this technology, the Hotel Marcel can easily connect sensors and other devices to monitor features such as temperature, occupancy, and air quality. Monitoring the data from these devices via an IoT platform gives the Hotel Marcel the opportunity to improve guest experiences and have a positive environmental impact by improving operational efficiencies such as programming lights to turn off when no occupants are detected.  

The Results 

Based on projections, the Hotel Marcel’s use of this technology will help the hotel become 60% more energy efficient than the current code requirements.  The hotel will also hold the honor of being the first Passive House certified hotel in the United States.  Beyond this achievement, Hotel Marcel is slated to achieve LEED Platinum certification as a result of the sustainable technology innovations implemented in the building. 

A Look Towards the Future of Smart Buildings

As real estate professionals examine what the future of construction looks like, the Hotel Marcel provides the perfect example of where things are headed. As companies and individuals look to improve health and wellness for not only their occupants but the world around them, they will desire spaces that can achieve this and want to work with professionals who will support these business and operational goals. With smart building technology, real estate professionals can set themselves apart by providing a unique and sustainable value to the market and set the standard for the future of buildings. The Hotel Marcel is the first net-zero hotel, but certainly will not be the last.