Seeking to lead the retail industry in the use of green technology, Walgreens has committed to building the nation’s first net zero energy retail store. Located in Evanston, Illinois, this groundbreaking store is predicted to produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes by utilizing the renewable energy technologies of solar, wind, and geothermal, as well as incorporating energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration. Walgreen engineers based at the company’s headquarters in Deerfield Illinois, will measure how effective the store is at generating the 200,000 kilowatt hours per year needed to run its operations.
“We are investing in developing a net-zero store so we can learn the best way to bring these features to our other stores. Because we operate 8,000 stores, we believe our pursuit of green technology can have a significant positive impact on the nation’s environment,” says Thomas Connolly, Walgreens’ Vice President of Facilities Development.
Engineers plan to generate electricity and reduce its usage by more than 40 percent by using:
* more than 800 roof-top solar panels
* two wind turbines
* geothermal energy obtained by drilling 550 feet into the ground below the store where temperatures are constant and can be tapped to heat or cool the store in winter and summer
* LED lighting and daylight harvesting
* carbon dioxide refrigerant for heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment
* energy efficient building materials
This project is the latest of the store’s many green initiatives. Walgreens currently operates two stores that have achieved a LEED certification level of gold and certified; 150 stores utilizing solar power; a store in Oak Park, Ill., using geothermal energy; a distribution center in Waxahachie, Texas that generates energy though the use of wind; and 400 locations with electric vehicle charging stations. Walgreens stores also use 25 watt fluorescent lamps which are the lowest wattage in the industry, LED cooler and freezer lighting and energy management systems in more than 5,000 locations. 15 Walgreens distribution centers have achieved net zero waste, meaning revenues from recycling exceed waste expense.
To follow Walgreens’ journey to achieve net zero status as well as their other green initiatives, visit the Net Zero Facebook page.