“It is a particularly green area,” said Fred R. Profeta, Jr., Maplewood’s Deputy Mayor for the Environment and one of the founders of Sustainable Jersey, a green certification program for communities.
Maplewood’s Police Station, completed in 2008, was New Jersey’s first LEED®-certified municipal building (LEED® is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings).
Montclair is also no slouch in the green building area. Recently, developers broke ground on Hillside Square, a LEED-certified green office complex which will be built on the site of the First Church of Christ, Scientist on Hillside Avenue.
“We are part of the greening of downtown Montclair,” said one of the project’s developers, Bob Silver. “We want to make Montclair a model community for businesses.”
Silver and partner Jay Schweppe are also the team behind Greenworks on Grove, the town’s first commercial building to be awarded LEED® Green Building Certification and Academy Square, Montclair’s second LEED-certified office building. “People want a safe environment to live and work in,” said Silver, who noted that the new development was already over 70% rented.
The new complex will hold 11 office suites and a smaller, refurbished church space. As at Academy Square, a state-of-the-art HVAC system will keep the heating bills low, the developers said. They also plan to maintain high indoor air quality with low or no VOCs.
Though going green sounds great on paper, it’s not always a piece of cake for commercial buildings. “We initially wanted to be LEED-certified,” said Greg Holoway, general manager of the five-month-old BMW dealership in Bloomfield. “But we learned that it would be too expensive and would have delayed construction.”
Still, the building is a shining example of how a car dealership can be environmentally conscious.
“We are as energy efficient as possible,” said Holoway. For example, 100% of the building’s heating is from recycled waste oil – including the roof parking deck. (“No snow blowing or plowing necessary.”) The windows are twice as energy efficient as regular windows and there is computer-controlled climate support that automatically shuts off the building’s heat at night.
Holoway said the efforts have resulted in considerable energy savings. “In our old, 22,000-square-foot building we used 50,000 kilowatts per month. Now, with a building that is triple the size, we use just 60,000.”
“It’s the dream of every owner and developer to make the most energy efficient building possible,” said Holoway. “The challenge is that it costs more, takes longer and can be technologically challenging.”
LEED-certification is not a walk in the park,” said Profeta. “They set the bar high, and that’s how it should be.” He said that although the initial expense was high to construct Maplewood’s police station, “the green features have been more than paid for by the resulting energy savings.”
He said that all future buildings constructed within Maplewood’s three economic development zones will have to meet certain green standards and requirements.
“Green building is not only important to the future of the environment, but also for our economic health,” said Profeta.