PWC Learning Center - A Net-Zero Realization Project

The PWC Eco-Park Net-Zero Energy Office Realization Study has been developed in Partnership with the Center for Design Research, who developed the original and overall design strategy for this landmark project.

Exterior view from landfill with amphitheater in courtyard


This Net-Zero Energy design study built on the pioneering work developed by Center for Design Research in the School of Architecture + Design, and expanded its scope for submission to the 2020 Solar Decathlon Design Challenge contest, where it achieved to receive a "Honorable Mention" right behind the first and second prize winners.

Project Summary

The Eco-Park Learning Center is a future municipal office building and community center owned and operated by Prince William County, VA. The Learning Center develops the County’s vision of the landfill as an eco-park – a nexus for interactive STEM education, community and professional engagement, and the demonstration of cutting-edge waste management technologies. It will house the county’s Solid Waste Division administrative offices, while serving as a venue hosting school groups, professional meetings, and larger community events. The project site borders the woodland buffer of the county’s operational landfill, currently designated as an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise (E4) participant in the Virginia Environmental Excellence Program (VEEP).

Design Strategy

The design strategies approached within this project are inspired by the seven petals of the Living Building Challenge, which establish the office building as the gold standard of Prince William County’s environmental and community stewardship. Our goal is to seamlessly integrate the Eco-Park Learning Center with its ecological and cultural fabric. We are thus employing a macro strategy that optimizes the Learning Center’s position relative to sensitive ecological habitat, walking/biking trails, local schools, and cutting-edge waste management facilities. At the micro scale, we make use of environmentally responsible materials such as structural CLT panels and engineered wood beams/columns. Recycled glass appears as paver blocks, ground filter sand, and as aggregate within sustainable concrete. Efficient building systems and a high-performance enclosure reduce the building’s emissions over its lifecycle. Our multi-tiered design team, spanning the domains of architecture, landscape, engineering, and construction, carefully evaluates the financial implications of our inventive design through detailed budgeting and cost-benefit analyses.

Funded by

Prince William County, VA



Linked Faculty & Students

Professor, Department of Building Construction

ACSA Distinguished Professor
T.A. Carter Professor of Architecture
Director, Center for Design Research

Project Data
Location Prince William County, VA
Climate Zone 4A
Lot Size 4 acres
Building Size 30,659 ft2, 2 stories
Occupancy 85 people, 300 ft2/person
Target Source EUI 70 kBtu/ft2/year
Average Utility Cost $4,500/month
Construction Cost $425/ft2