Poquoson Elementary School

City, State

Poquoson Elementary School

Scope of Services
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) Engineering
LEED Consultation

Poquoson Elementary, a high performance school serving 675 students, grades 3-5, is located in the middle peninsula of Virginia. Surrounded by the wetlands, the design captures the essence of the water that is integral to community life. To gain a better understanding of the physical and social context of Poquoson and its relationship to the ecosystem, a boardwalk from the school to the tidal creeks provides the students and the community with a “wetland lab”. In addition, two acres of wetlands were added with help from funding granted by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Fourth graders participated in the planting.

2RW Project Case Study Main Image

The school’s design focused on incorporating the following aspects:

  • 144 vertical geothermal wells serve as the central plant for space conditioning
  • Dedicated outdoor air systems with integral energy recovery
  • Daylight harvesting controls for interior lighting
  • Waterless urinals
  • Building automation system interface with a large flat-screen display in the atrium, describing energy use and building efficiency strategies
  • A working sundial on one exterior wall, educating students about the sun’s path through the sky, highlighting the winter solstice and the equinoxes.
  • Clerestory windows with overhangs tuned to minimize heat gain and benefit from natural daylight

Not only is the building’s design energy efficient and environmentally friendly, it is designed to teach the students about energy use, water use and their surrounding environment. Poquoson Elementary Schools uses 51% less energy than a comparable building of standard construction based on hour-by-hour computer simulations.

Scope of Services
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) Engineering
LEED Consultation

OWNER: Poquoson City Public Schools

TIMEFRAME: 2004-2008

SIZE: 82,000 SF

COST: $17.5 million


2010 – Grand Prize Award, Learning By Design, American School Board Journal
2009 – Honorable Mention Citation, American Association of School Administrators / American Institute of Architects / Council of Educational Facilities International
2009 – Distinguished Design Award- Platinum Level, Virginia School Boards Association Exhibition of School Architecture
2009 – “People’s Choice” Awards, Virginia School Boards Association’s Distinguished Design
2009 – Virginia Green Innovation Award- Institutional Project K-12, Virginia Sustainable Building Network
2009 – Honorable Mention for new Pre-K-5 Elementary School
2007 – Design Concept Award, Council of Educational Facility Planners, International
2007 – Recognized Value Award, Design Share
2007 – GoGreen Design Merit Award, James River Green Building Council