DETROIT — Detroit Thermal, owner and operator of the district energy steam system throughout the greater downtown Detroit area, has been selected by U-Haul as the top renewable energy source for the refurbished National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) Building slated to open in early 2013.

Detroit Thermal has partnered with U-Haul to re-establish steam heating services to the 280,000-square-feet local landmark in New Center, revitalizing the building to house a U-Haul moving and self-storage center, providing truck and trailer rentals, self-storage, U-Haul car share, U-Box pod moving and self-storage and mixed-use community space.

U-Haul purchased the seven-story building, built in 1920, in June 2012 and plans to invest approximately $2.6 million into building construction and renovation. The company shares DT’s commitment to sustainability and will be documenting and sharing the sustainable practices it uses during the construction process, which visitors can track on

“The U-Haul company’s shared-use concept wasn’t called sustainability until recently, but that has always been our business model since 1945,” said Joe Shoen, chairman, U-Haul International Inc. “Detroit Thermal’s Steam is a renewable energy source in which we are willing to invest, and do it right. U-Haul is committed to the city of Detroit for the long haul .”

DT has contributed manpower and capital investments to remove and rebuild internal piping to facilitate the building’s addition to the steam network.

“We want to do what it takes to help this historic building get up and running again,” said Detroit Thermal President Rick Pucak. “DT is committed to Detroit’s revitalization and providing energy to U-Haul, and this classic building helps honor the city’s past and create a sustainable future.”

When renovations are complete, the building will not only offer traditional U-Haul services like self-storage and truck rentals, but other city interests as well. U-Haul is currently in discussions with community leaders and advocates regarding potential mixed-use on the upper floors for programs that meet community needs in education, the arts, and youth programming.

“Without Motor City, U-Haul wouldn’t exist,” Shoen added. “This is our opportunity to give back to the city of Detroit.”

Detroit Thermal LLC, acquired by Detroit Renewable Energy LLC, ( in 2010, provides cost-effective, environmentally friendly heating and cooling services to a group of more than 145 buildings along the extended Woodward Corridor from the downtown riverfront to the New Center area using steam produced from renewable energy sources. Its extensive underground “district energy” system provides safe, reliable, and worry-free district energy services.

U-Haul was founded by a Navy veteran who grew up during the Great Depression. Tires and gas were still rationed or in short supply during the late 1940s when U-Haul began serving U.S. customers. Today, that background is central to the U-Haul Sustainability Program: “Serving the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” More at