Adaptive Reuse in Madison, WI at U-Haul Moving & Storage at Downtown Campus

Allan Yang - Chief Sustainability Scientist

Building History

Arguably one of the most important events in early-American history, the growth of the railroad changed the landscape of America forever. Railroads brought about changes in social, mechanical, and political fields of thought. Originally, the Illinois Central Freight House in Madison, Wisconsin was used to store merchandise and supplies from the trains that passed through en-route to Chicago. The supplies were unloaded and then picked up by local merchants to distribute to numerous warehouses nearby. Following the demolition of the Madison Passenger Depot in the 1940’s, Illinois Central Railroad moved passenger operations to the freight house where it remained until the early 1970’s when the building was closed. For a very brief time the freight house was home to Jimmy Carter’s presidential headquarters in Wisconsin during the mid-1970’s. The building remained empty until it was returned to its prior glory by U-Haul in 1986. Adaptive reuse building conversions allow U-Haul to promote infill development to meet citizens’ needs while preserving the natural resources and land normally required for new construction. Adaptive reuse also allows resources to be focused on integrating environmentally thoughtful features into the existing building rather than creating waste in the form of demolition and using valuable resources for new construction. 

Environmental Impact

Serving U-Haul customers since 1986, this facility was built through Adaptive Reuse of an abandoned building. Adaptive Reuse promotes infill development in an effort to strengthen communities, with the following benefits achieved at this site:

  • 1,423 tons of new concrete pours avoided
  • 1,459 tons construction and demolition debris avoided

Energy-efficiency and waste-reduction programs at this facility provide the following estimated benefits each year for this downtown community:

  • 607,484 lbs greenhouse gas emissions avoided
  • Steel Use

    Steel Production 0 tons of steel manufacturing and delivery saved to date

  • Energy Use

    Energy 0 kWh annual energy savings

  • Concrete Use

    Concrete 1423 tons of new concrete pours avoided to date

  • CO2 Emissions

    Emissions 607484 lbs of greenhouse gas emissions prevented

  • Landfill Debris

    Landfill Debris 1459 tons of construction debris prevented