Yale graduate Daniel Kopec builds his business on sustainability.
Daniel Kopec started his architectural firm in 2013, and he has been at the peak of the business ever since. Kopec’s grandfather immigrated to the States from Spain. His grandfather’s siblings manufactured bricks and roof tiles in Spain, and his grandfather built his own business here that involved municipal pipe contracting. So Kopec grew up with everyone around him involved in construction trades. As a first-generation college student, he wanted to combine his formal education with his family’s craftsmanship background. Even after attending school, Kopec was drawn to the labor that made up his foundation.
“It’s something you want to do when you’re five, you want to be an architect or an astronaut. But few actually pursue it,” said Kopec.
Kopec has worked on several projects, including the path terminal at the World Trade Center. Kopec graduated from NJIT and completed his master’s degree at Yale University. He went back to NJIT to teach courses on design, building, lighting, science and math, where he brought his real world experience into the classroom.
“The real world, the application, is messy. Classroom learning is cut-and-dry. I think my students appreciated that I could bring some of the mess into the classroom,” Kopec said.
Kopec stopped teaching in 2014. His intent was to establish a brand that was committed to the present needs of the region, and to impact energy performance all over. Kopec’s firm is unique compared to others for two reasons: one, Kopec focuses on historical preservation in his work. His business has been involved in projects as old as 1859. Typically, Kopec’s projects range anywhere from 157 to 97 years old. He works on brownstones in Jersey City and houses in Montclair’s Glen Ridge.
Kopec does external restoration as well, but as he noted, “It doesn’t matter how beautiful the building is, if the inside isn’t comfortable.” For that reason, Kopec tries to find old photos and dig up records when working on an old project. He enjoys keeping the interior feel intact so the building’s character remains true and unique.
The other attribute of Kopec’s firm that makes them unique is that they focus on energy efficiency. There is a misconception about energy efficient design. Many think it is too pricey to consider. “That’s not true,” said Kopec, “It doesn’t have to be. The life cycle cost comes around for things like insulation, lighting and windows. It saves money over time. First and foremost, we focus on decreasing utility payment for the customer, and then we can up the renewable resources and sustainability efforts.”
Kopec ties energy efficiency to “user comfort.” If a room is drafty or has poor circulation, a customer won’t be as comfortable as they should, and therefore they will be less productive. Kopec focuses on improving energy efficiency along with maximum comfort for his occupants. His methods benefit the customer, the building and the environment. He uses these energy modeling calculations to rise above simply understanding a building code.
“I get very invested in a project,” Kopec said, “Folks will work with an architect once, maybe twice in a lifetime. I want to show them all the services I offer. I want to show them what I do.” Explore Kopec’s website at kopecarchitects.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.