Arlington Public Schools Discovery Elementary School

Arlington, VA

Arlington Public Schools Discovery Elementary School

Scope of Services
Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection (EP/FP) Engineering

Discovery Elementary School, a new Pre-K through 5 school with a capacity of 650 students, is the first new elementary school built in Arlington, Virginia, in the 21st century. The primary goal was to design the best place for learning—an inspiring space that is safe, comfortable, and healthy. As a Net Zero Energy building, it also sets a new standard for sustainability and innovation for the County’s future schools and demonstrates what can be achieved with a public school facility.

2RW Project Case Study Main Image
  • Design of solar thermal water heating system in the solar learning lab
  • Connection of photovoltaic and solar thermal collectors to energy meters which students can access through an online dashboard to track energy data in real-time. Students can compare thermal and photovoltaic generation and experiment with how weather and angle affect energy production
  • Plumbing system design
  • Design of service water heating system tied to the geothermal system
  • Design of rainwater collection/storage system
  • Electric power distribution and low voltage design
  • Fire suppression system design

In every element of design, this Net Zero school—the first one in the mid-Atlantic and the largest in the U.S.—serves as a conduit for learning, encouraging a new generation of environmental stewards.

Scope of Services
Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection (EP/FP) Engineering

OWNER: Arlington Public Schools

TIMEFRAME: 2012 – 2015

SIZE: 99,000 SF

COST: $31 million

  • Largest Net Zero Energy school in the in the U.S.
  • EUI of 15.4 kBtu/sf/yr (K-12 EUI average: 48.5)
  • ENERGY STAR perfect score of 100
  • Projected conservation savings of $1.4 million over 20 years
  • Waterless urinals and ultra-low-flow water fixtures
  • 100% LED lighting
  • Solar array with interface to student learning lab
  • Rainwater harvesting for school vegetable garden

  • 2019 – Net Zero Award, USGBC
  • 2018 – Technology Award, Educational Facilities, ASHRAE
  • 2017 – Green Ribbon School,U.S. Department of Education
  • 2017 – Presidential Citation for Sustainability, AIA|DC
  • 2017 – Top Ten Award, AIA COTE
  • 2016 – Project of Distinction, A4LE
  • 2016 – Honor Award, AIA Central Virginia

Zero Energy Building Certification, LEED Gold, LEED Zero