Pirelli Building Retrofit to Offer Hotel Industry a Case Study in Efficiency

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New Haven’s Perelli building, long famed for its Brutalist design and proximity to I‑95, has recently received a great deal of attention from the high-performance building community. The former office building is now undergoing a major retrofit that, once complete, will result in EnerPHit certification. Even more ambitious, Becker + Becker, the owner, developer, and architect of the property, plans to covert the building to all-electric and to earn certifications for NetZero, LEED Platinum, and ENERGY STAR®. Steven Winter Associates, a consultant on the project, described some of these historic retrofits in a post over the summer.

As the New York Times reported yesterday, the project is not just drawing the attention of the high-performance building community, however. The hospitality industry is also paying a great deal of attention because Becker + Becker plan on turning the Perelli building into a hotel (known as Hotel Marcel). On top of being a part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, the 165-room boutique hotel will likely be the most energy-efficient hotel in the United States.

Many hotels have hopped on to the sustainability bandwagon, but typically only half-heartedly. Some have adopted energy-saving technologies like LED lighting and occupancy sensors for room thermostats. Others have implemented non-enforceable and consumer-side policies to cut down on waste, such as asking guests to reuse towels. Few have strived to make improvements in efficiency central to the design process. Once complete, the Hotel Marcel will include features common to Passive House projects—including triple-glazed windows, all-electric heat pumps, loads of insulation, rooftop solar panels, and even solar canopies in the parking lot—but only rarely seen in the hospitality industry.

“It will probably cost about $5 per square foot more, but we’ll be saving about $1 per square foot every year on energy,” Mr. Becker told the Times. “So it really does make a lot of sense. It’s an opportunity to create a new paradigm that the hotel industry can look at and study and learn from.”

To read the full story, click here.

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