Madison, Wis. – Seeing Garver Feed Mill today, it’s hard to imagine the dilapidated state it lay in just a few years ago.
The 113-year-old building was buzzing with commerce on a recent Tuesday, with a crowd enjoying lunch from one of the building’s new food-service tenants, perusing some of the other shops or just taking in the newly-renovated, historic building.
The scene belies images from the not-so-distant past of a crumbling building, the subject of much renovation talk but little action.
Baum Revision Real Estate Development was the group that took the east Madison landmark from disrepair to desirable location.
“Our company has a history of redeveloping historic buildings and we were invited to take a look at this building and immediately saw an opportunity,” said Baum Revision Project Manager Bryant Moroder.
That was back in 2013. It has taken six years to get from that opportunity to what we see today.
“We focus primarily on food and wellness and health businesses. And with the large ceilings and concrete roofs and access to things like docks, the building set up really well for those types of uses,” Moroder explained. “And then we have our common area in the middle; our event space. One of the common themes to a lot of the projects we do is to invite the community in for community program activities. That can be things like private events, weddings and things like a farmer’s market, which we plan to have this winter. So it’s a great opportunity to utilize this space and also bring additional attention to our building tenants.”
Baum – working with Design Coalition Inc., JDR Engineering, SmithGrouo JJR, Bachman Construction Co., Inc. and Hill Electric – kept much of the 60,000-square-foot building’s past in the forefront during redevelopment. The exposed duct work and original masonry is true to the industrial character of a sugar beet processing plant built in 1905 and turned into Garver Supply Company after James R. Garver bought it in 1930.
But when it came to energy use, developers shifted attention from the past to the future.
“I’ve worked with FOCUS ON ENERGY®, on and off, in a variety of different capacities over the years,” Moroder said.
That relationship led to a collaboration on the Garver project, with Focus on Energy – Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency and renewable resources program – providing energy expertise to the developers.
“Focus on Energy was involved very early in the process, I think, as early as 2015. So, almost three or four years ago, and [they] worked with us on… an understanding of what sorts of incentives were available for the project. And more importantly, how do those incentives translate to what is a fairly unique development with a variety of different uses, a historic building, and just a variety of challenges in the construction of the building and its ultimate outcome?”
The incentives Moroder mentioned are financial incentives, which Focus on Energy offers to Wisconsin residents and businesses as a way to help offset up-front investments in energy efficiency. In this case, the project earned nearly $19,000 in Focus on Energy incentives.
That money helped offset the more than $59,000 investment in high-efficiency equipment and other measures designed to reduce energy waste. The incentive, combined with the $23,000 in annual energy savings from the more efficient equipment, ensures the efficiency measures will pay for themselves in less than two years.
The energy-saving features built into the redeveloped building include heating and cooling equipment, window glazing and LED lighting.
“There was a lot of patience, I think, from Focus on Energy and kind of working through what is, again, a really challenging project with a variety of uses. We’ve got everything from a restaurant, to a spa, to a photography studio, to companies that have large energy loads,” Moroder explained. “And then you just have a variety of different structures within the building. So, the building isn’t uniform in its performance and understanding how those different uses and different building functions affect energy use was something Focus on Energy and [Energy Advisor Dorene [Schink] really worked with us in trying to understand where the best value was for our energy-efficiency dollar.”
Energy efficiency also aligns with Baum Revision’s philosophy regarding sustainability. The estimated lifecycle energy savings from the efficiency projects conducted with Focus on Energy at Garver Feed Mill is 4.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity. Saving that amount of energy has the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 650 vehicles off the road for a year.
This project was eligible for Focus on Energy incentives because the property is a customer of Madison Gas & Electric, one of the 107 Wisconsin utilities that partner in Focus on Energy.
A third-party evaluation noted Wisconsin runs the most cost-effective energy efficiency programs in the nation. It also found every $1 invested in Focus on Energy generates more than $5 in benefits for Wisconsin, including economic benefits, reduced pollution and reduced energy costs.
About Focus on Energy
Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program funded by the state's investor-owned energy utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperative utilities. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Focus on Energy information, resources and financial incentives help to implement projects that otherwise would not be completed. Its efforts help Wisconsin residents and businesses manage rising energy costs, promote in-state economic development, protect our environment and control Wisconsin's growing demand for electricity and natural gas. For more information call 800.762.7077 or visit focusonenergy.com.
Interior shot of Garver Feed Mill