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Bridgeport International Academy (BIA), housed in the former Seaside Institute for girls, built in 1886 as a school for female workers at an adjacent factory, has made major updates to its facility’s energy infrastructure to coincide with its teachings on conservation.

United Illuminating (UI), a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc., which provides programs through the Energize Connecticut initiative to help businesses strategically manage energy use, assisted a very unique team in developing this project. This team was led by a partnership with BIA stakeholders and Integrated Building Services, with support from Sustainable Real Estate Solution. The project was financed by RENEW Energy Partners with key support from the Connecticut Green Bank, who provided low interest financing. Integrated Building Services and their major sub-contractor Coastal Mechanical, delivered a turnkey energy services upgrades program to increase BIA’s energy efficiency, achieve long-term cost savings and make a significant reduction to the school’s carbon footprint.

Program managers from UI helped the team identify and secure $89,289 in financial incentives available through Energize Connecticut programs. The project has an expected 11-year payback period with an estimated annual energy savings of  $28,750 (191,659 kWh), achieved through the upgrades.

Originally built in the late 1900s as a school for female workers from Warner Brothers Corset Company, the building was later home to a local newspaper and then in the 1980s converted to apartments. BIA moved in 10 years ago and renovated the second floor as a new home for their school. Through lighting, controls and heating system upgrades, the team replaced 21 of the 40 water source heat pumps and three-split system, many of which were constantly failing or in need of repair.

“We were in triage mode most of the time, many of the heat pumps were not even working,” said the school’s Headmaster, Dr. Frank LaGrotteria. “Our dorms and classrooms are much more comfortable spaces with convenience and control of lighting and temperature we never had before.”

Teachers and staff now have the ability to control temperature and lighting in classrooms from phones or laptops. Significant savings is achieved with the ability to control settings based on occupancy.

Dr. LaGrotteria and about 20 students live in the dorms of the building, giving them a personal perspective before and after the upgrades. For a facility built nearly 130 years ago, the cost savings help with overall efficiency and to keep school operations in line with their teachings on conservation. What was once a school for female factory workers, transformed into apartments, now acts as a private college preparatory high school for roughly 60 students.

“We are all enjoying a better work environment and there’s little maintenance. The savings we achieve will allow us to invest in our students and focus on our four pillars: academic excellence, creativity, character development and global citizenship,” said Dr. LaGrotteria. 

“This kind of project can really revitalize older buildings and neglected facilities.  While often motivated by long-term cost savings, our customers reap many rewards for investing in efficiency solutions that improve their environment, in this case helping to foster better learning and more comfortable living spaces for students and faculty,” said Glen Eigo, Energy Engineer of Commercial & Industrial Energy Services, UI.


About Energize Connecticut

Energize Connecticut helps you save money and use clean energy. It is an initiative of the State of Connecticut, the Connecticut Green Bank, Eversource, UI, SCG and CNG, with funding from a charge on customer energy bills. Information on energy-saving programs can be found at or by calling 877.WISE.USE.

About UI

United Illuminating (UI) is a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR). Established in 1899, UI is engaged in the purchase, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity and related services to approximately 333,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the greater New Haven and Bridgeport areas of Connecticut. For more information, visit 

About Bridgeport International Academy

Bridgeport International Academy provides a college preparatory educational program for students of diverse cultures and nationalities that fosters academic excellence, character development, creativity, and global citizenship. The Academy fulfills its mission by offering a holistic educational experience, emphasizing the study of core academic subjects, oral and written communication skills, character education, community service, technological skills, fine and digital arts, performing arts, and physical fitness. BIA is committed to instill in each student a passion for learning while promoting respect for and harmonious relations with other people and cultures in a safe, nurturing, and positive educational environment.


Media Contact:

Robby Piazzaroli


860-426-9991 Ext. 17