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Washington Gas Customer Story

Customer Story: The Donaldson Group, Rinnai and First Company


Location: Gaithersburg, MD


The Donaldson Group, a full-service real estate management and investment company, and its equity partner Angelo, Gordon & Co., acquired Cider Mill Apartments in Gaithersburg, MD, in 2014. Originally developed in the 1970s, Cider Mill is an 864-unit garden-style apartment community. A renovation plan called for investing an additional $15 million to increase the property’s energy efficiency by replacing the original central heating and cooling plants, among other systems.



The Donaldson Group reached out to Washington Gas’ Engineered Sales Team seeking a solution for its energy upgrade challenges. They specifically inquired about the installation of natural gas heating and water heating compared to electric heat pumps and water heaters. With the original property design including electric central heating and cooling plants in each of its buildings, we needed to provide an economical energy conversion. Initial economic analysis completed by Washington Gas presented higher costs to install natural gas versus a comparable electric system.



Leveraging our strategic partnerships, the Washington Gas Engineered Sales Team arranged an onsite sales meeting with The Donaldson Group and its channel partners, Rinnai and First Company to create a cost-effective solution for the project.



Our Engineered Sales Team and its channel partners created a proposal that presented two natural gas equipment options for space heating and water heating. One option included the space-saving tankless water heater and an air conditioning cooling coil. The other was a similar design, only with a tanked water heater. Washington Gas and its channel partners were able to combine incentives, making the cost to install individual natural gas meters more cost effective than installing individual electric heat pumps. By working alongside channel partners, we were able to provide a customer solution and reinforce our strategic partnerships. Not only did The Donaldson Group benefit from lower first costs to install natural gas as a result of our partnership efforts, the tenants will enjoy the comforts of individually controlled heat and air conditioning and instantaneous hot water systems with lower energy bills.



"If you would like the perfect scenario for a natural gas partner and manufacturers, the Cider Mill project would be it. Thanks to Washington Gas strategically bringing all stakeholders together from the beginning, the project was a resounding success for all involved."

- Mike Peacock, National Energy Development Manager of Rinnai 

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