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ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile

Armstrong Elementary School
11900 Lake Newport Rd
Reston, VA 20194
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Neil Armstrong Elementary in Reston, Virginia earned ENERGY STAR certification in March 2012. It took technological innovation to get Neil Armstrong to the Moon in 1969 and it took the descendants of that technology to get Armstrong Elementary to achieve peak energy efficiency 43 years later.

Armstrong Elementary, located in Fairfax County, Virginia, is the academic home of 480 students and more than 70 staff members.  When the 80,000-square-foot school was constructed in 1986, it was a relatively efficient building. It featured a compact two-story floor plan, variable air volume HVAC system, a central water cooled chiller plant, central gas fired boilers, and double pane windows. 

Energy efficiency retrofits at Armstrong began in 2002, when the original cooling tower was replaced with a direct drive, draw-through Evapco tower with a variable frequency drive installed on the fan.

In 2005, Armstrong Elementary was part of phase five of an energy performance contract that Fairfax County Public Schools entered into with Noresco, an energy service company.  This phase included 17 schools and was part of a 107-building project completed over a three year period.  The project included 10.4 million square feet of space and a total investment of $19 million dollars. 

The performance contract at Armstrong Elementary included retrofitting T-12 fluorescent lighting with magnetic ballasts to T-8 lighting with electronic ballasts. Metal halide gym lighting fixtures were replaced with high output T-5 fluorescent fixtures, which dramatically improved the lighting levels and quality. Exit signs were replaced with LED exit signs.  By 2008, after the performance contract was completed, the building?s ENERGY STAR energy performance score had climbed to 61, but still was not high enough to earn certification.

In 2007, the water-cooled chiller was replaced with a Trane chiller with screw compressor technology.  This was followed by a replacement of the original boilers with new modular gas fired boilers in 2008.  These boilers can be staged on and off in sequence to precisely meet the heating load while resetting the supply water temperature based on outdoor air temperature.

In 2011, the 24-year-old hybrid pneumatic/electronic building control system was replaced with a state-of-the-art Siemens direct digital control system.  The new system included replacing all sensors, HVAC unit controls, hot and chilled water valves, and outside air damper actuators. Classrooms have adjustable thermostat sensors so teachers can adjust room settings to their individual comfort level within a few degrees of a set point, which greatly improves occupant satisfaction.  As part of this project, intake vortex vanes on variable air volume air handling units were removed and variable frequency motor drives were installed to improve reliability and efficiency.

By March 2012, the building?s ENERGY STAR score had reached 78 and the building became eligible for certification.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), located in northern Virginia, is the nation?s 11th largest school district with 177,500 students attending more than 190 schools and centers. Schools buildings are also used extensively in the evening and weekends for adult education, parks and recreation, after school child care, religious activities, and other community use. FCPS is projecting a growth in student membership of 11,500 children in the next five years, further straining facility and energy budgets so energy efficiency is more important than ever. The Energy Management section within Office of Facilities Management ( ) is responsible for minimizing the energy and water utility costs through development and implementation of conservation programs. FCPS has had an active energy management program since 1978.






Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by Fairfax County Public Schools or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Building Owner:*
Fairfax County Public Schools

Property Manager:*
Fairfax County Public Schools

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2012 (77)

Facility Type: K-12 School

Total Floorspace: 80000 sf

Year Constructed: 1986

Contract Type: Performance Contract

Technologies Used:
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Stage 4-Fan Systems
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant