When looking for office space, not many buildings can provide a campus with 100 acres of open pasture, cultivated farmland and bison grazing near an on-site solar park. The more than fifty tenants at Domino’s Farms Office Park in Ann Arbor enjoy all these plus other exceptional amenities including dining, a post office and fitness facilities. The long, horizontal office building was inspired by the architectural principles of Frank Lloyd Wright, and true to Wright’s aesthetic, the building was designed to fit in almost seamlessly with the natural landscape surrounding it.
For Domino’s Farms, fitting in with the environment also means working to protect and preserve it – a value that has been part of office complex operations since it first opened as the headquarters for
Domino’s Pizza in 1985. In the late 1990’s, management installed a state-of-the-art stormwater system, well before municipal regulations made these a requirement. The storm basins not only filter out impurities from run-off but have grown into beautiful features of the landscape supporting abundant wildlife.
In 2015, DTE Energy partnered with Domino’s Farms to install a 4,032-panel solar park adjacent to campus. The solar park generates 1.1 megawatt of clean energy, and it was the largest solar park in Michigan when it started producing in energy in September of that year. The company has also worked with DTE on other energy efficiency initiatives including the installation of LED lighting and motion-activated switching throughout the campus.
“From the start, sustainability has been important to us,” said John J. Petz, Director, Real Estate & Public Affairs for Domino’s Farms Corporation. “Our tenants enjoy the unique experience they have working on this campus. Today, there are a sizable number of millennials working in the building, and we’ve seen an increased appreciation of and attention to sustainable business practices.”
John and his team recently signed the building up for DTE’s MIGreenPower program, a move that will reduce the building’s carbon footprint. Through the program, Domino’s Farms will attribute 20% of their energy use to wind energy beginning in January 2021. The wind parks that will supply this program are currently under construction and are scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2020.
“When the DTE team told us about the MIGreenPower option, we saw it as a continuation of the sustainability work we’ve already done,” said Petz. “Joining the program was an easy decision, and we believe our tenants will appreciate the fact that we are taking additional steps to lessen our impact on the environment.”
Domino’s Farms is one of several Michigan companies who have signed up for MIGreenPower this year. Other program subscribers include Ford Motor Company, General Motors, the University of Michigan and the Detroit Zoo among others. The program is open to all DTE electric customers and now has nearly 10,000 residential customers as individual subscribers. The benefit to customers is that they achieve the environmental benefit without having to install or maintain any additional equipment.
“With renewable energy, scale matters,” says Brian Calka, director, Renewable Energy Solutions for DTE Energy. “DTE’s universal wind and solar projects generate more clean energy at a lower cost than individual, private systems. Customers who join MIGreenPower are helping to make a positive impact on the environment and accelerating the development of more renewable energy in Michigan.” The company has no cap on enrollment in MIGreenPower and is prepared to build or acquire additional renewable energy projects to meet customer demand.
Petz is convinced that participation in MIGreenPower is an asset for Domino’s Farms – one his tenants will appreciate. He plans to install signage in the building to let the nearly 3,000 people who work there as well as the 1,000 people who visit the complex every day know about the company’s commitment to clean energy.
“Our complex is like a small village,” says Petz. “The companies and organizations that have their offices here care about the experience their employees and visitors have while they are here. They enjoy the wildlife that shares our property with us and they want to keep our surrounding area as green and beautiful as it can be. Our commitment to cleaner energy is one we will all be proud of.”