New Loudoun County elementary school wins top recognition for energy efficient design

A brand new elementary school opening in Loudoun County is raising the roof on solar energy. The Elaine Thompson Elementary School is the first school in Sterling to have solar panels built into its design, providing 40 percent of the school's power needs.

"From the environmental perspective, this is an appropriate design model for us to do and to become more energy efficient," said Tim Sparbaine, the school's principal.

"The energy we receive is stored from the solar panels just like a battery so where it's sunny outside and we are getting more storage from the energy to where it's cloudy outside we are getting less storage so that all feeds into the overall electrical operation of our system."

The school is one of four national level award winners. The challenge recognizes new construction projects that are achieving ENERGY STAR certification for energy efficient and preventing carbon dioxide emissions.

"Elaine Thompson was the winning school for the EPA 'Decarbonize Your Footprints Design.' This is a commercial building design not just for schools, so it's a nationally recognized commercial building design," explained Sparbanie.

He said the new design building will not only be beneficial to the environment but also save taxpayer money.

"What that translates to our taxpayers dollars is a savings of about $65,000 annually, so it's not an insignificant amount of money," said Sparbanie.

Sparbanie said that from an education standpoint lessons tailored around learning about solar panels, saving the environment and energy will be made a part of the school's science curriculum.