Discovery Elementary School

Arlington, VA




2019 Net Zero Award, USGBC National Capital Region
2018 First Place Technology Awards, Category II - Educational Facilities - New, ASHRAE
2017 Design Award, Citation from AIA|DC President for Sustainability, AIA|DC
Discovery Elementary School
Discovery Elementary School
Discovery Elementary School

Arlington County Public Schools needed to accommodate increasing enrollment. They undertook constructing a new school to meet these demands and added the challenge of making this building the first zero-energy school in the Mid-Atlantic. To help achieve zero-energy status, the Discovery Elementary School design incorporated numerous innovative features and strict enclosure requirements, including air infiltration limits approximately 60% better than commonly targeted industry standards. SGH provided building enclosure consulting services during the project’s construction phase.

Scope | Solutions

  • Working for the contractor, SGH helped the team achieve their targeted enclosure goals. Highlights of their work include the following:

  • Reviewing project-specific air barrier concepts and details, and developing coordinated building enclosure shop drawings for integrating the various systems

  • Performing field adhesion testing of fluid-applied air and water barrier materials to evaluate performance, and collaborating on ways to improve installation details and techniques

  • Conducting qualitative air infiltration testing of mockup construction using theatrical smoke to identify air leakage paths, and recommending modifications to reduce air infiltration

  • Performing whole building air infiltration testing to quantify air leakage and determine if the as-built construction achieved the required air infiltration target

  • Using infrared technology to survey exterior walls and identify areas with thermal anomalies, including discontinuous insulation and air leakage

  • Recommending repairs to reduce whole-building air infiltration

  • Surveying the roof, with its expansive photovoltaic array, and using infrared technology to identify roof areas with wet insulation that needed to be repaired prior to substantial completion

Project Contact(s)