Mark Deming

Cost Savings Finance System Overhaul

BOC grad Mark Deming, director of facilities for the Branford School District in Connecticut, has been implementing many energy conservation projects since he first began working there in 2001. Deming’s projects run the gamut of energy efficiency opportunities, from lighting retrofits to building a CCHP (combined cooling, heating and power) plant, to a photovoltaic installation. The result is that in a school district with nine buildings, six of which are schools, electricity use is half what it was at the beginning of the decade. He recently summarized the energy-saving activities that had been undertaken since 2001 and presented his results to the Branford School Board.

One of the most successful endeavors was an HVAC project at the Walsh Intermediate School (WIS). The WIS PACT agreement was worked out between the Branford School District and the Connecticut division of Trane. The HVAC system for the school was overhauled through a performance agreement providing a system upgrade costing $1.2 million to be paid over ten years, without any upfront capital, and with the understanding that the energy savings resulting from the changes would be significant enough to cover the yearly project financing payments. Completed in 2003, the first year savings exceeded the $120,984 guarantee\annual payment. Results from successive years were just as impressive:

  • FY 2001-2002, WIS used 2,780,160 kWh
  • FY 2008-2009, WIS used 1,253,758 kWh
  • kWh avoidance: 1,526,402, an improvement of 55%
  • Cost avoidance in FY ’08-’09 alone: $153,768
  • Oil savings average 35-40K annually since FY ‘01’-02, est. 225,000 gallons total
  • Actual payback/ ROI was 3.67 years

No surprise that with results like this, WIS earned the ENERGYSTAR® building label in 2007 and 2009.

Other projects Deming has promoted have included:

  • a CCHP (combined cooling, heating and power) system with UTC/Carrier, the 265 kW micro-turbine and absorption chiller project at the Branford High School that produces approximately two-thirds of all power needed to operate the school and about 90% of all thermal load, with an efficiency of around 80-90%.
  • new BMS (Building Management Systems) at two elementary schools in 2006, which have since yielded on average 17,000 gallons in fuel savings, and 40,000 kWh savings annually.
  • a retro-commissioning project that identified 23 no-cost energy conservation measures, since implemented.
  • an installation of dimmable LED lighting in both the BHS auditorium and library.
  • deployment, with the tech department, of Syam software, which turns off computers when not in use, for which the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund (CEEF) provided a $27,000 incentive. Annual savings district-wide are projected at 166,000 kWh.
  • participation in a demand load response program (aka, a peak rewards program) that resulted in receipt of over $10,000 in rebates as of the end of 2009.
  • installation of sixteen waterless urinals at WIS, with a potential 40,000 gallon savings annually per urinal, along with installation of sensor faucets district-wide.
  • a retrofit of 8,100 32-watt with 25-watt lamps, with an estimated payback of 1.36 years.

Deming put together a recent comparison of the impressive results of the various energy and water-saving measures by looking at usage from July to December 2008 versus usage from July to December 2009:

2008 2009 % change
988,219.00 1,450,753.00 kWh -31%
Fuel Oil
4,084.40 12,314.60 gal. -66.8%
Natural Gas
71,508.96 70,511.68 ccf +1.4%
2,494.00 5,110.00 ccf -51%


In July of 2009, a 7-kW photovoltaic array was installed at Branford High School with funds provided by the Branford Clean Energy Task Force, not so much as a source of energy, but as a part of the teaching curriculum. As of October, the system had produced 3,458 kWh. These are just a few of the many great energy saving projects going on in the Branford School District. Deming has more in mind, such as becoming a beta site for new LED technology by relighting the building exteriors and parking lots.

In 2001, the Branford School District consumed over 7 million kWh annually, and over 220,000 gallons of heating fuel. Today those figures are under 3.5 million kWh and less than 100,000 gallons of heating fuel. What is remarkable is that over that period, all but $120,000 of this work has been paid for with energy savings. The $120,000 represents the only additional taxpayer funds used – a modest average of about $17,150 per year. Each year, energy savings have been reinvested, which has enabled Deming to level-fund oil, natural gas, water and electric budget line items for the last seven out of ten years.