Prospect Park Becomes First New Jersey Municipality to Adopt Community Energy Plan

Prospect Park Becomes First New Jersey Municipality to Adopt Community Energy Plan 789 444 DMR Architects

Prospect Park in Passaic County has become the first municipality to adopt a Community Energy Plan under the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) and Sustainable Jersey Clean Energy Grant Program, an effort to align with The State’s Energy Master Plan, the roadmap to reaching Governor Murphy’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

The borough used its $25,000 grant to retain DMR to prepare the plan, which identifies more than two dozen initiatives that Prospect Park will implement within a five-year period, including:

  • Installing renewable energy sources, energy storage, and public EV charging stations on municipal properties, and improving energy efficiency of municipal buildings;
  • Creating opportunities for community solar programs that allow the public to purchase solar energy from off-site sources, with an emphasis on availability and affordability for low- and moderate-income households;
  • Outreach campaigns to increase resident and business participation in incentive programs offered by the state, federal government and utilities like PSE&G to transition to electric vehicles, make energy efficient improvements and install solar and other forms of renewable energy;
  • Replace older borough fleet vehicles with newer, preferably electric alternatives, and adopt fuel efficient fleet vehicle management practices;
  • Make energy planning inclusive of low- and moderate-income and non-English speaking households;
  • Adopt zoning and regulatory language that permits renewable energy production and energy storage.

“We applaud Mayor Khairullah and the Prospect Park council for recognizing the role that reducing carbon-based energy sources plays in the overall health and wellbeing of everyone who lives and works in Prospect Park,” said Tracey Woods, Energy Program Manager for Sustainable Jersey. “Their commitment to change shows that any municipality can address climate change in a meaningful way.”

“This is the next step for us toward making more clean energy sources available and reducing GHG emissions,” said Mayor Mohamed T. Khairullah.  “We had a public reading of the plan earlier this month and there was overwhelming support from our residents and businesses.”

“There are state-level grants, tax credits from the Federal Inflation Reduction Act, and incentives through utility companies available right now making it the ideal time for municipalities to create Community Energy Plans,” said Daniel Hauben, PP, AICP, LEED Green Associate, Senior Project Planner for DMR. “As planners committed to building healthier and more affordable communities, our team at DMR is equipped to guide our municipal clients through the resources that are available to them now.”

In June 2022 NJBPU approved $820,000 in grants to 46 municipalities to create Community Energy Plans to combat climate change.  Prospect Park was one of only 24 designated as overburdened and eligible for $25,000.

Approved Energy Savings Improvement Plan for Hackensack BOE Will Fuel $12.5 million in Energy Savings Projects at All Facilities

Approved Energy Savings Improvement Plan for Hackensack BOE Will Fuel $12.5 million in Energy Savings Projects at All Facilities 960 540 DMR Architects

With the recent approval of a New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP), the Hackensack Board of Education will begin energy improvement projects valued at $12.5 million, without utilizing its capital reserve or impacting taxpayers.

The proposed improvements will ultimately result in cost savings of nearly $11 million over the next 20 years and reduce Hackensack’s carbon footprint by 5,146,261 pounds of CO2 annually.

As architect of record for the district, DMR brought the ESIP program—designed to provide public entities a funding option for energy-related improvements using the value of the energy savings that result from the projects—to the BOE’s attention as a sustainable way to pay for the much-needed upgrades. Projects include:

  • HVAC upgrades at all schools including 53 classrooms at Hillers School and Hackensack Middle School, which will also receive ventilation upgrades;
  • Unit ventilators, steam traps, radiators, boilers, transformers, air handler and chiller replacements across facilities;
  • The replacement of more than 10,000 lighting fixtures with LEDs;
  • Solar panels on all buildings, a project that will save $206,000 annually;
  • Weatherization of all building envelopes;
  • Upgrading building controls to enterprise management systems

“This milestone is the next step forward in implementing important projects that will increase energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption and improve the educational experience for all students and staff,” said Hackensack Superintendent Robert Sanchez.

“The HVAC and window replacements are particularly timely as the board prioritizes ensuring that students, faculty and staff are returning to healthy buildings,” said Donna Coen O’Gorman, AIA, LEED Green Associate, Project Manager for DMR Architects.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the average American car emits about seven tons of CO2 a year.

“In essence, we are reducing carbon emissions similar to if we took nearly 370 cars off the road while also benefiting everyone in Hackensack but without costing anything to our taxpayers,” continues Mr. Sanchez.

Construction on the ESIP projects will begin in summer 2021 and continue through summer 2022.

In addition to management of the ESIP program, additional architect of record projects underway including: window replacements at Hillers School; restroom renovations at Jackson Avenue School and Fairmount Elementary School; elevator additions at Jackson Avenue School and Fairmount Elementary School; and a new portico at Hackensack High School.

Pictured above, solar panels at Hackensack High School. Photo courtesy of EZNERGY. 

Frank J. Gargiulo Campus Awarded LEED Gold Certification

Frank J. Gargiulo Campus Awarded LEED Gold Certification 789 444 DMR Architects

The Frank J. Gargiulo Campus, the new, 350,000 square foot high school that opened its doors in September 2018, has achieved LEED Gold certification.

The vocational-technical high school is an icon for sustainability and will soon be awarded the LEED Project of the Year: Schools award from the United States Green Building Council New Jersey Chapter.

The building is equipped numerous sophisticated sustainable elements, such as wind turbines, geothermal heating, 27,000 square feet of solar panels and 20,000 square feet of green roofs, all of which helped the building achieve a total of 75 points.

The project was an intense collaborative effort and included a team of numerous professional services and construction firms, with DMR serving as the architect of record and LEED specialist.

DMR Honored with CIANJ Environmental Leadership Medal

DMR Honored with CIANJ Environmental Leadership Medal 789 444 DMR Architects

On April 26 DMR was among those to receive a 2019 Environmental Leadership Medal from the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey (CIANJ) at its celebration of environmental leadership in the business community. The inaugural awards program celebrated environmentally-friendly companies that have demonstrated leadership in sustainability. DMR was honored in the category of green leadership, which recognized the firm for having a commitment to sustainability at the management level.

DMR has been at the forefront of sustainability and sustainable design in New Jersey for more than 15 years. The firm was one of the earliest to embrace LEED certification, with the first of its professionals receiving certification in 2003. This commitment led to the creation of a Director of Sustainable Design position, one that is still fulfilled by the same person, a Partner of the firm, today. The firm also designed Carlstadt Elementary School, the first LEED Silver public school in New Jersey and the first LEED certified building in Bergen County, a catalyst to a portfolio of LEED certified buildings that now includes five Gold, Silver and Certified level projects, with several more on the boards to receive certification in 2019.

The CIANJ hosted the event at the Glen Ridge Country Club. Pictured above, from left to right, are Francis Reiner, CIANJ President Anthony Russo, and Lloyd Rosenberg.

Frank J. Gargiulo Campus Honored with an USGBC NJ LEED Project of the Year Award

Frank J. Gargiulo Campus Honored with an USGBC NJ LEED Project of the Year Award 789 444 DMR Architects

The Frank J. Gargiulo Campus, the new, 350,000 square foot high school that opened its doors in September 2018, has won the LEED Project of the Year: Schools Award from the United States Green Building Council New Jersey Chapter (USGBC NJ).

The vocational-technical high school is an icon for sustainability, equipped with wind turbines, geothermal heating, 27,000 square feet of solar panels and 20,000 square feet of green roofs. Beyond these unrivaled sustainable features, in line with the project-based learning curriculum of the school, a sustainability curriculum was developed surrounding the school’s features. In addition, educational signage throughout the facility, dedicated ecology events throughout the year, a strict commitment to recycling and a green cleaning contract all contribute to the development of life-long sustainable champions within the four walls of the facility. The project is anticipated to receive LEED Gold certification this year.

The project was an intense collaborative effort and included a team of numerous professional services and construction firms, with DMR serving as the architect of record and LEED specialist. The school, part of the Hudson County Schools of Technology system, is home to High Tech High School, KAS Prep and Hudson Technical.

All LEED Project of the Year award winners will be honored at an event on May 22 at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick.

Green building isn’t far flung anymore, and a NJ firm is celebrating that fact

Green building isn’t far flung anymore, and a NJ firm is celebrating that fact 960 540 DMR Architects

Written by Christine Fisher. Produced by Brandon Bagley.

There’s a Nelson Mandela quote that reads, “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” In a way, Lloyd Rosenberg, founder of DMR Architects, has done just that.

When Rosenberg founded DMR Architects in 1991, the first buildings he designed were schools. He had been designing them since graduating from architecture school, and he’d amassed potential clients who agreed to give his new company a try.

Bergen Community College Student Center

Twenty-five years later, Rosenberg is still building schools, returning in a sense to his roots, but lots of other things have changed. For starters, DMR Architects has diversified, and it’s become a leader in green building.

Hudson County’s $144 million high school

In 2016, DMR Architects celebrated its 25th anniversary, a milestone Rosenberg is especially proud of. The company has a staff of 40, and is currently building a $144-million high school for Hudson County, New Jersey.

“The high school we’re doing now is spectacular. It’s going to be a building that’s going to set the bar for high schools throughout the country.”

DMR Architects is the lead designer on that 350,000-square-foot design-build project, for which it’s seeking LEED Platinum Certification.

“The high school we’re doing now is spectacular,” Rosenberg says. “It’s going to be a building that’s going to set the bar for high schools throughout the country—the technology and programs and infrastructure and energy savings, all the things you’d want to put in a school.”

The building will have solar power, geothermal heating and cooling, a partial underground garage for employees and water retention systems. A roof will capture storm water to irrigate landscaping, and all of the mechanical systems are being built with the best green building products on the market.

The building was designed to suit what educators hope to teach, and it will have a fabrication lab, applied science labs, a television production and radio broadcasting studio, digital media labs, a culinary lab, architecture and engineering labs, a hydroponics lab, musical theater, a dance and drama studio, yoga, judo and other fitness rooms.

Rosenberg has always designed schools, but now the green technologies, and the administrators’ willingness to embrace them, have changed.

An easier pitch

Rosenberg has designed thousands of schools and public and private buildings in New Jersey, and says he was “very much in the forefront” of sustainable design.

In the beginning, he had to make presentations explaining why green buildings cost more than traditional buildings. In the early ’90s, when DMR Architects started, green buildings often cost 10 to 30 percent more.

“I don’t have to make that pitch anymore,” Rosenberg says.

Today, he says, the difference between an energy-efficient building and a non energy-efficient building is almost negligible. That’s partly because all of the required products are readily available.

“The cost is in the certification, the paperwork, the testing, going back and doing some examinations and reports to prove that it’s been done [right], but the basic building doesn’t cost any more, it may even cost less,” Rosenberg says.

The motivation has changed, too. DMR Architects’ first green building clients sought LEED Certification as a marketing tool. Clients today opt for green buildings to save money through energy efficiency and utility savings.

The benefits of diversifying

DMR Architects has taken on medical buildings, public and private buildings, institutions, even a train station.

“I’d always hoped to be a midsized architectural firm that was diversified in what we do,” Rosenberg says.

He sought variety so that staff wouldn’t feel pigeonholed in one sector and to help protect the company during economic downturns. At times, the residential market has boomed for a few years and then gone flat. At other times, it’s been the public sector.

Outside of providing resiliency, trying out different sector projects has given perspective. Clients benefit from that different view, Rosenberg says.

“We built a train station, not necessarily in our sweet spot, but we were actually complimented because we took a fresh approach, not one that someone had done over and over and over again,” Rosenberg says. “We actually proposed to the user a different way of doing something, which they embraced, and now it’s the standard for them.”

Shared success

The firm makes a point of hiring “top talent from the top” and “top talent from the bottom,” which gives it the experience of senior staff and the technological expertise of recent graduates. While the new hires helped more experienced employees stay relevant, the senior people help new hires “learn what they don’t know.”

“I love young people that come in with enthusiasm,” Rosenberg says. “They want to learn and the more you throw at them the better job they do. I love to see people who came here as a graduate and now they’re project managers. I’m proud of those people that I’ve given the opportunity to do it. I’ve helped them, but they’ve really done it on their own.”

When DMR Architects turned 25, the firm hosted a series of employee-engagement activities—like a company boat ride and company picnic—to celebrate not just the success of the firm, but the success of its individual employees.

“When we started in 1991, we had three people; we now have 40,” Rosenberg says. “People that are here have been with me some 24 years. Most of the staff has over 15 years with the firm… so I think it’s successful when you have the vast majority of the staff that has been here that long.”

This article was originally featured on US Builders Review.

High Tech High School

The $150M Frank J. Gargiulo Campus Opens in Secaucus

The $150M Frank J. Gargiulo Campus Opens in Secaucus 789 444 DMR Architects

The Frank J. Gargiulo Campus, described as the “gem of high schools in Hudson County,” is open.

Following an aggressive design and construction schedule of less than 2 1/2 years, last week marked the first full week of school on the 20-acre campus in Secaucus, home to High Tech High School, KAS Prep and Hudson Technical.

The new, $150 million facility educates nearly 2,000 students in more than 70 leading-edge classrooms and specialty spaces. The Hudson County Improvement Authority (HCIA) managed the design and construction process for Hudson County Schools of Technology (HCST) through a team of numerous professionals, which along with DMR Architects, included RSC Architects as bridging architect, MAST Construction Services as owner’s representative and construction manager and Terminal Construction Corporation as general contractor.

The 350,000-square-foot county vocational magnet school combines technically-focused, hands-on learning with a challenging academic curriculum.

“The Frank J. Gargiulo Campus will quickly become the gold standard for technical high schools across the country. Our design team, working collaboratively with our educators, have created something truly revolutionary. I know that it will serve our students and staff with the resources to drive learning to the next level,” says Amy Lin-Rodriguez, acting superintendent of HCST.

Among many advanced features, the new campus includes a fabrication lab, a black box theater, a performing arts auditorium, 80-inch interactive monitors in classrooms, and a TV production studio with a functioning control room. Outdoor features include a hydroponic rooftop garden where students will grow food to be used in the culinary kitchen lab.

This school was designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s (LEED) rigorous gold standards and requirements for sustainability. Features like water efficient landscaping, geothermal heating, green roof and wind turbines were implemented to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases and wastewater emitted from the campus.

The new campus was dedicated to the former superintendent of HCST, Frank J. Gargiulo, during a ceremony on September 7.

“I am humbled by the decision to dedicate this campus in my name,” says Frank J. Gargiulo, former superintendent of HCST. “These students are among the brightest in the country and deserve a quality space to study and prepare themselves academically for the future.”

For a complete copy of the project announcement, please click here.

Triple Play: 3 ways to create a more sustainable business

Triple Play: 3 ways to create a more sustainable business 2000 1125 DMR Architects

Pradeep Kapoor

Three thoughts from a top leader in the state: Pradeep Kapoor is the director of sustainable design and a partner at DMR Architects.

We asked Pradeep to give us three ways to create a more sustainable business.

1. Have a plan

Businesses that are considering a move or expansion should recruit a knowledgeable professional to help create a sustainable design that incorporates sustainable strategies and sets the short- and long-term sustainable goals for the business. The real estate mantra “location, location, location” must be considered before finalizing the new location. Things such as the proximity to public transportation or access to public or green spaces are critical for sustainable goals.

2. Look for easy fixes first

There are relatively easy fixes a company could implement to become a more sustainable business, such as installing energy-efficient lighting and motion sensors in public spaces, including bathrooms and hallways, as well as using water-efficient plants for landscaping. Getting an energy analysis of utilities to see where one can make changes to conserve energy is a good starting point. You can cut down on your energy usage, save money and make a big impact on the environment.

3. Be environmentally friendly

Be environmentally friendly: Use environmentally friendly materials that minimize the impact of harm to the ecosystem wherever possible. This will allow you to save some money on your project. Consider reusing recycled materials that are available locally or materials with higher recycled content, refurbishing furniture and using building products made of rapidly renewable materials.

This article originally appeared on

Hudson County’s new $160 million high school will be ‘one of a kind’

Hudson County’s new $160 million high school will be ‘one of a kind’ 960 540 DMR Architects

by Corey McDonald

Current and future students at High Tech High School have a lot to look forward to.

High Tech, one of the Hudson County Schools of Technology, will move into its $160 million new home in Laurel Hill Park in September 2018. The 340,000-square-foot campus will offer amenities and technology not typically seen at your average high school

“I think this (high school) is going to be one of a kind for a while,” said Lloyd Rosenberg, president and CEO for DMR Architects, the architectural firm managing the project. “Certainly this is going to make Hudson County – from an educational high school level – really supersede anything that they’ve had in the past.”

The new building will house 1,500 students in grades 9 through 12—250 more students than High Tech’s current facility in North Bergen, which will become the new home for North Bergen High School’s 10th, 11th and 12th grades after the move.

Four separate wings will be built for each of the vocational branches and career academies that High Tech offers: vocational training, architecture and engineering, applied science, and performing arts.

Each wing will have specific technological designs and features to advance its learning environment. A hydroponics lab will be available in the applied science wing, while the architecture and engineering program will have labs elsewhere.

The theater wing, meanwhile, will have its share of advantages including studios for dance, drama, TV production studio, and digital video.

The building will also have shared spaces, including a main gymnasium with bleacher seating, a cafeteria, a 316-seat performing arts theater, a black box theater that will seat 100, a media technology center, as well as yoga, judo and CrossFit rooms.

While students and staff will reap the benefits of these new features, the whole community will benefit from its energy-efficient technologies.

“We’re really designing this to be the most energy-efficient building possible,” Rosenberg said.

These advancements include a wind turbine and solar panels to generate renewable energy. The building will also be equipped with rain harvesting technology to use for its water supply.

“Not only will it be energy efficient, but we’re going to show students why and how it (is energy efficient),” Rosenberg added. “We’ll have equipment within the building that will be able to monitor the energy. On a daily basis you’re going to be able to see how much savings or how much energy is being used for different things in the building.”

The county announced plans for the new school in 2014. The state approved to fund 59 percent of the school while the county pays for the remainder. The foundations of the building are set and the first level is completely floored, according to Rosenberg.

“This facility will embellish these great programs the school has and give (students) a whole new world,” Rosenberg said.

This article originally appeared on