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Natural Gas Program Aids Developers in Lowering Costs for Multifamily Projects

Washington Gas actively works with local governments and regulatory commissions to upgrade infrastructure, cut emissions and reduce costs for customers.

The Multifamily Incentive Program (MIP) is an example of its efforts to create new tariffs in its franchise area to help lower costs for developers.

With the approval of the multifamily tariff by the Public Service Commission in Maryland and Virginia, Washington Gas created the MIP to provide incentive dollars for developers that choose individual-unit natural gas meters for their multifamily projects in these two states.

When planning residential projects, builders and developers face the challenge of remaining cost effective. Their main objective is to remain profitable while building projects that bring value to their customers.

Washington Gas’ petition to update the multifamily tariffs in Maryland and Virginia has made the inclusion of efficient, comfortable, reliable natural gas cost effective for future multifamily projects in both states.

The Donaldson Group, a full-service real estate management and investment company, was one of the first Washington Gas customers to use the MIP with its Cider Mill Apartments, an 864-unit renovation project in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The group was aware of the value individual natural gas meters would bring to its project, however without the approval of the MIP, the solution would not have been feasible said Scott Altman, executive vice president of The Donaldson Group.

The Washington Gas Sales Team implemented a multi-prong sales approach to close the sale without a contribution from the customer, by leveraging the company’s MIP, equipment rebates and additional cost savings from equipment manufacturers. The combination of these solutions resulted in natural gas individual natural gas meters becoming the most cost-effective solution for the client.

“We acquired Cider Mill apartments with the business plan of abandoning the boiler room and installing 864 individual energy-efficient HVAC systems in all of the apartment homes” said Altman.

“In completing our due diligence for Cider Mill, we reached out to Washington Gas and learned of the Multifamily Incentive Program. We quickly changed our business plan as we knew natural gas was a more efficient hot water and heating system than electric, especially at today’s natural gas prices,” he said.

The Cider Mill project now has 864 individual-metered, tenant‑controlled natural gas units. Through the program, The Donaldson Group was able to replace their inefficient existing onsite two-pipe heating, ventilation and air conditioning central boiler systems with new instantaneous water heater combination systems (tankless water heater with air handler) for space and water heating applications in each unit.