Walgreens just announced plans to build what the company believes will be the nation’s first net zero energy retail store – complete with solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration. The store will be located in Evanston, Ill., at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street, where demolition of an existing Walgreens store now is under way. Engineering estimates — which can vary due to factors such as weather, store operations and systems performance — indicate that the store will use 200,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity while generating 256,000 kilowatt hours per year.
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“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology,” said Thomas Connolly, Walgreens vice president of facilities development. “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.”
Over the past year, Walgreens engineers have worked with the city of Evanston and vendors, including Trane, CREE Lighting, Acuity Lighting, Cooper Lighting, CalStar Products, GE Lighting, Geothermal International, SoCore Energy, Wing Power and Camburas and Theodore Architects. The Chicago-area location will allow convenient access for Walgreens engineers based at the company’s headquarters in Deerfield, Ill., to measure the store’s performance for an entire year to determine if the store reaches its goal of net zero energy use.
“This planned building development reflects the City of Evanston’s ongoing commitment to the constant improvement of sustainable practices in the natural and built environment and will serve as an excellent example of how responsible development and the environment can be harmoniously combined,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. “Green building is important to Evanston as it is good for business, good for the environment, good for our health and essential to our future. We are honored that Walgreens has chosen our community to build the nation’s first net zero energy retail store that will be LEED certified as well.”
Walgreens will attempt to have the store achieve LEED Platinum status, which is the most stringent green designation by the U. S. Green Building Council, and plans to enter the store into the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge. The store will be Walgreens second showcase project in the Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge. Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Walgreens has committed to a chain wide 20 percent energy reduction by 2020. To follow the new store’s two-year journey to achieve net zero status and the company’s other green initiatives, visit the Net Zero Facebook page.