Arlington Public Schools Discovery Elementary School

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Project Background

SitelogIQ provided enhanced commissioning of all HVAC, plumbing, and lighting systems for the new 97,600-square-foot Discovery Elementary School.

Discovery Elementary School is the first net-zero energy school on the East Coast and is one of a series of school projects aimed at transforming 21st century education in Arlington County. The project’s primary objective is to set a new standard for sustainability, efficiency, flexibility and learning environment design. The two-story school building encompasses 98,000 square feet and includes 45 classroom spaces. It accommodates up to 630 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Because the new school shares a 25-acre site with the existing Williamsburg Middle School, considerations for site footprint, solar orientation, building construction, and energy use were given top priority.

The school gleans its heating and cooling from a 150-geothermal well-field, while a solar array covers almost every square inch of available roof space. These sustainable systems result in an Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of just 23. Meanwhile, traditional elementary schools in Arlington have an average EUI of 68, and the national average is 70. This ultra-low EUI makes on-site photovoltaic energy generation possible within a traditional school budget.

The project is LEED Gold certified by the USBGC. Discovery also is one of only four schools nationally to receive Zero Energy certification from the International Living Future Institute, which means that 100 percent of the building’s energy needs are supplied by on-site renewable energy.

Project Specs

Construction Cost: $35 million