Applying Market Intelligence to Reduce Energy Consumption and Costs

Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology works with Direct Energy Business, one of the largest retail energy suppliers in North America, to manage near- and long-term energy supply costs at the school’s rapidly-expanding campus. Through its relationship with Direct Energy Business, Wentworth has used energy market resources and experienced guidance from Direct Energy Business to manage both its electricity and natural gas costs and establish itself as an academic and community leader.

Located on 31 acres in the heart of Boston, Wentworth Institute of Technology offers undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs in a full range of technical disciplines. Wentworth’s active campus has nearly 4,000 students and 400 faculty and staff members. As part of a strategic plan that began in 2013 to expand learning opportunities and build its infrastructure, Wentworth Institute of Technology continues to expand its facilities, opening new academic buildings and finishing construction on a 7-story dormitory.

Challenge

To accommodate its growing academic offerings and student body, Wentworth Institute of Technology’s campus underwent a series of expansion activities to help prepare for continued development in the decade ahead. In particular, the following milestones mark notable moments in the campus’ growth:

  • The Apartments at 525 Huntington Avenue opened in fall 2014. The building offers more than 110,000 square feet of living space for just over 300 students.
  • The College of Professional and Continuing Education underwent renovations in 2013 to expand 3,700 square feet of the College’s office space, introducing a modern, open floor plan that enhances Wentworth’s community outreach efforts.
  • The Altschuler Computer Center for computer science and networking opened, which was part of a series of laboratory renovations to complete Wentworth’s own “High-Tech Highway.”

To manage energy costs while building out its facilities and planning for longer-term expansion, Wentworth Institute of Technology sought energy solutions that allowed it to accomplish the following:

  • Accurately project annual energy usage and budgets for all campus facilities, including those under development or soon to be opened
  • Manage total energy consumption and control costs to ensure that budgets are met and remain stable—even as campus growth continues

The Bright Idea

Wentworth Institute of Technology leaned on Direct Energy Business’ more than 25 years of experience for proactive guidance to help develop the most appropriate solutions for its growing campus. As a result of the competitive prices that Direct Energy Business could offer, Wentworth opted to purchase both its electricity and natural gas supply from the company.

  • In addition to its competitive rates, Direct Energy Business provides Wentworth with a number of services that help their facilities staff make better budgeting decisions and control the campus’ energy usage and costs. These services include:
  • Energy market and regulatory update seminars and webinars, which Wentworth’s energy managers attend while planning their annual budgets for both new and existing facilities.
  • Reporting and analyses for its natural gas strategy through a customized portal from Direct Energy Business. Here, detailed reports on the school’s past energy usage and costs allow the energy management team to keep budgets on track by monitoring current consumption, projecting future annual usage for existing facilities, and estimating energy costs for facilities still in the planning stages.

A Powerful Solution

After becoming a Direct Energy Business customer, Wentworth gained a new avenue for regulating its supply costs. In particular, the extensive market intelligence tools Wentworth has at its disposal have helped the school forecast its usage and pricing several years in advance. After previously executing forward energy purchases no more than one year in advance—and often missing out on savings as a result—Wentworth can now look even further ahead and lock in prices when market conditions are most favorable.

For instance, as construction began on a new dormitory, Wentworth’s Direct Energy Business Representative proactively informed the school that, despite a general downward trend in natural gas prices, gas pipelines in the region were constrained and unable to accommodate growing demand—so, local prices were likely to rise in the future. Wentworth, therefore, took advantage of the low natural gas prices at that time to lock in future savings for the new facility and ensure budget certainty, thereby limiting its exposure to rising or unpredictable prices.

As Wentworth Institute of Technology and Direct Energy Business grow their relationship and continue developing customized energy solutions for the thriving campus, Wentworth continues to take advantage of cost-saving opportunities and strengthen its regional standing as an academic leader.

Results such as those described above are not guaranteed and will depend on many factors, including, but not limited to, your company’s risk tolerance, profile, and past and future decisions regarding energy purchases.


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The biggest benefit of working with Direct Energy Business, by far, has been the savings we have seen over the years. We have paid far less than we would have under the utility default service.

- Michael A. Bergeron, CEM Assistant Director, Energy Management Wentworth Institute of Technology Quote

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