Discover a Net-Zero Building at Discovery Elementary

by Dan Lesniak

Arlington County has seen its share of population growth over the years. Our region is a wonderful place to live, whether you love the urban village lifestyle of Orange Line Living or prefer a more suburban feel, there is so much to offer in this region and people have taken notice. One effect of more residents moving to our county is the need for more public schools. Arlington County has been in the process of adding more seats to area schools and where able, building new schools to meet the demand of families. The 2015-2016 school year marks a new milestone for our elementary schools. At long last Discovery Elementary School will open its doors to students. There is more to Discovery than meets the eye at first glance however, the building is a rare one. It has been certified as a net-zero building, one that creates more energy than it uses. This type of building will not only benefit the environment, but will provide hands on lessons for kids to learn to from.

Currently there are less than 40 net-zero buildings across the country, making Discovery Elementary and Arlington County, in a class above the rest. The school was built with features that encourage sustainability, such as solar panels and geothermal walls. There is a digital dashboard in the lobby and in classrooms which show how much energy is being used at a given time, as well as other data about the school’s systems. Teachers can use the real time data in lesson planning for the students, giving kids the opportunity to see eco-engineering and energy alternatives at work. Other innovative features at Discovery Elementary include reading nooks designed for younger kids to crawl into for reading time, an indoor slide and Apple TVs that allow kids to display their work from iPads or laptops. The school has classes from pre-school age up through fifth grade.

Discovery Elementary was built on part of the Williamsburg Middle School campus and is located at 5241 36th St N, Arlington. The inclusion of the elementary school on the middle school campus was a direct result of studies done on the current school facility capabilities, looking to meet the needs of Arlington families and retain the integrity on which our schools have been built. The design and construction of the new school will also include a full new master plan of the Williamsburg campus, taking into account the future needs of the school for student seats, parking and pedestrian needs. While Discovery School will be open for this new year, there are still some finishing touches to be completed, namely in the gym, which is pending an inspection and anticipated to be open soon after the school year begins.

To get the kids ready and excited to attend Discovery Elementary school there was a survey and vote done to determine the school mascot and colors. The winning combination named Explorers as the mascot with red as the school color. The vote was put forth to kids at the following schools, Nottingham, Taylor, Jamestown and Arlington Science Focus School, from which the majority of students will come to attend Discovery Elementary. There was also an online vote for newly registered kids to be included. The involvement of the kids with some of the planning, along with the new incredible net-zero facility bringing more science and learning to the classroom showcases Arlington’s’ commitment to families. If you are ready to live in our incredible community, myself and the Orange Line Living Team, are here to provide you with our unique and specialized services so you can turn your dreams into reality. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us directly at 571-969-7653 or at [email protected]

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