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Customer Story: The Donaldson Group

Policy and Oversight

Location: Gaithersburg, MD


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


The Maryland Multifamily Piping Program (MMFPP) is an example of the result of the continual efforts to create new tariffs in our franchise area to help lower first costs for builders and developers. With the approval of the multifamily tariff by the Maryland Public Service
Commission, Washington Gas was able to create the MMFPP and is now able to contribute toward builder/developer houseline installation costs for qualified multifamily projects with individually‑metered natural gas units in Maryland.

The Donaldson Group, a full-service real estate management and investment company, was the first Washington Gas customer to benefit from the MMFPP with its project, Cider Mill Apartments, an 864-unit renovation in Gaithersburg, MD.



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. Although The Donaldson Group was aware of the value natural gas would bring to its project, but without the approval of the Maryland multifamily tariff, natural gas would not have been feasible. Compared to electricity, a requirement in each residence, natural gas can be more expensive because of the cost associated with construction and natural gas equipment, typically more costly than electrical systems.



The Washington Gas Sales Team implemented a multi-prong sales approach to close the sale without a contribution from the customer. Leveraging the financial incentives of the MMFPP and its channel partnerships, The Donaldson Group received additional cost savings from equipment manufacturers. A combination of these solutions resulted in natural gas becoming the best energy solution for The Donaldson Group.



Washington Gas’ petition to update to the Maryland multifamily tariff has made the inclusion of efficient, comfortable, reliable natural gas cost effective for future multifamily projects in Maryland. The Cider Mill project will have 864 individual-metered, tenant‑controlled natural gas units. Washington Gas and The Donaldson Group are planning to replace the 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. We look forward to working with them as they focus on implementing energy-efficiency improvements throughout their portfolio of properties in the future.



"The Donaldson Group 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. In completing our due diligence for Cider Mill, we reached out to Washington Gas and learned of the Maryland Multifamily Piping Program, which contributed funds for the natural gas piping from the meter to each individual unit. 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. Washington Gas has been a joy to work with and the team could not be any more responsive and helpful."

- Scott Altman, Executive Vice President, The Donaldson Group

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