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How Douglas Development Constructed a World-Class Energy Strategy.

Developing a comprehensive energy management strategy is like constructing a building: it requires a solid foundation and several strong pillars of support.

Nobody in the commercial real estate business understands that better than Douglas Development.

With more than ten million leasable square feet of commercial offices and retail spaces spanning across the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, Douglas Development is one of the most well-established developers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

With a growing and diverse portfolio of commercially focused properties, Douglas Development has recognized the need to proactively develop an energy strategy that can help create value out of every square foot of space. After all, saving on energy costs can boost the bottom line and lower costs for tenants. So, how has Douglas Development been able to build a top-notch energy strategy to match their collection of world-class properties?

We recently caught up with Douglas Development to learn more about their three-part approach of leveraging expert advice, managing energy demand and saving costs through renewable energy.

 

property development

 

Leveraging experts to meet the energy needs of a diverse portfolio of properties

Energy markets can be as volatile as the commercial real estate market.

In times like these, it is important to have a team of energy experts in your corner, which is exactly why Douglas Development turned to Direct Energy Business for guidance. With the help of Direct Energy Business, they secured beneficial fixed rate pricing in the short-term with the ability to pursue market-based pricing as part of a longer-term strategy for some of their assets.

To go beyond pricing, Douglas Development enrolled in PowerPortfolio®, a customized, layered energy procurement strategy. With this solution, they can access industry-leading energy professionals and advanced analytical reporting to help inform decisions on flat block and variable, market-based purchases.

 

Managing energy demand to boost commercial property value

When you have an expansive and diverse portfolio of properties like Douglas Development, it is crucial to have a range of options to reduce your energy costs.

One opportunity available to large commercial properties is demand response, which allows large energy users to generate revenue by reducing their energy usage during periods of peak demand. Douglas Development worked with Direct Energy Business to create an energy curtailment strategy and has committed 4.5 megawatts each year for demand response in the District of Columbia, Virginia and Maryland. Douglas is participating in demand response across most of their portfolio and implementing proven strategies for load shedding.

Besides demand response, another popular way to manage energy costs is through energy efficiency. Commercial real estate properties, like those in Douglas Development’s portfolio, have myriad efficiency opportunities, ranging from installing energy-efficient windows to improving insulation and pursuing LED lighting projects. In fact, a recent survey of commercial building energy consumption found that lighting energy use has decreased an astounding 46 percent, thanks to the switch to more energy-efficient lighting.

 

Unlocking major cost savings through solar energy projects

One common misconception in energy procurement is that businesses must spend more to access renewable energy or participate in the renewable energy market.

However, savvy building owners and operators know that solar energy is not an overpriced sustainability play – it can unlock valuable cost savings for building owners and tenants alike. This year, Douglas Development has a little over 4 MW of solar currently in development.

Solar power allows them to maintain lower operating costs through net metering, which of course helps with sustainability, but also allows them to offer significant value to their tenants.

At a time when the economic climate brought by COVID-19 has forced many businesses to find new ways to save on costs, Douglas Development has taken a proactive approach in pursuing innovative solar projects at properties across the District of Columbia and Virginia.

As they were evaluating opportunities to reduce energy costs, solar power stood out. It gives them the opportunity to earn additional revenue by putting solar panels on their properties and feeding that energy back onto the electricity grid.

 


Douglas Development has joined a growing trend towards solar power in the mid-Atlantic. In Virginia, commercial customers have committed to almost 5 million megawatt hours of clean energy with Direct Energy Business, which is enough clean energy to power the 225,000 homes in historic Richmond.


 

By working with industry experts, businesses can become more sustainable and choose from a suite of solutions designed to fit their needs.

 

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