Ohio Dominican University
Location: Columbus, OH
Total Savings to Date: $163,000
The Big Picture
Rising costs are an issue for every college and university across the country, and institutions are looking for ways to cut expenses without sacrificing quality. For Ohio Dominican University (ODU), one answer came in the form of energy savings through EnerNOC.
As a leading Catholic liberal arts and master’s university in Columbus, Ohio, ODU offers its 2,800 students undergraduate degrees in more than 40 majors, as well as 11 graduate degree programs. ODU has emerged as a top-tier institution in the Midwest through its innovative degree programs, dynamic student activities, and seasoned faculty.
Searching for Stability
Prior to partnering with EnerNOC, ODU participated in an energy-buying group with other members in the area. The school expected that by aggregating their collective load, they would get the lowest rates. However, the variable rate contract provided rates that fluctuated between $6 to $9 per dekatherm (DTH). ODU Associate Vice President of Administration Cathy Perrin explains, “Our contracted rate changed each month, sometimes drastically. Because it was something we had no control over, it was nearly impossible for my team to accurately plan our energy spend each year. We knew there had to be a smarter way, and that’s when we found EnerNOC.”
Big Beginnings in Natural Gas
In early 2011, EnerNOC procured natural gas for the university by running a sealed auction, securing a one-year fixed-price contract that delivered a 14.6% reduction in ODU’s natural gas rate. This was a big win for ODU, but the savings didn’t stop there. EnerNOC continued to monitor the market and, nine months later, helped ODU lock in a two-year fixed-rate contract that further reduced their natural gas cost by 14.7%. Additionally, in October 2013, EnerNOC negotiated a three-year contract capitalizing on record-low natural gas transportation rates, allowing ODU to take advantage of expected future-favorable market conditions.
The Savings Continue
ODU’s savings aren’t limited to natural gas. Since 2011, EnerNOC has also procured electricity for the school. EnerNOC’s initial electricity auction for the campus put $70,000 back into ODU coffers over two years—money that would have otherwise gone to the local utility. Eleven months later, noting record-low market rates, EnerNOC advised ODU to extend their contract by another year to lock in $38,000 in savings. And when ODU established a new electric account with the local utility that increased their annual usage by more than five million kilowatt-hours, EnerNOC ensured that account was included in their existing supply agreement—for an additional $28,000 in savings. Like many other institutions of higher learning EnerNOC works with, ODU saw an opportunity to lower operating costs by procuring energy smarter. Through six natural gas and electricity transactions in three years, EnerNOC has helped them do just that.