Retail News Breaks Archives
Net zero energy store opened by Walgreens
November 21st, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. – What is believed to be the nation’s first net zero energy store — meaning it is expected to produce as much or more energy than it consumes — has been opened by Walgreen Co. in Evanston, Ill.
The store features two wind turbines, nearly 850 solar panels and a geothermal system burrowed 550 feet into the ground.
“Using the best technologies available, we believe we can accomplish our goal of having the first net zero energy retail store in America,” said Mark Wagner, president of operations and community management at Walgreens. “Currently, we have facilities that utilize wind turbines, solar installations and geothermal technologies. This is the first time we are bringing all three of these technologies and many more together in one place. Our purpose as a company is to help people get, stay and live well, and that includes making our planet more livable by conserving resources and reducing pollution.”
Walgreens plans to generate electricity and reduce its energy usage in the Chicago Avenue store by more than 50% through several technologies including the rooftop solar panels, which will generate enough energy to power 30 Illinois homes for a year. The 35-foot-tall turbines will use Lake Michigan breezes to generate enough power to offset annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2.2 passenger vehicles.
Geothermal energy will be obtained by drilling more than one-tenth of a mile underground, where temperatures are more constant and can be tapped to heat or cool the store.
The unit also has LED lighting and daylight harvesting, carbon dioxide refrigerant for heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment, and energy efficient building materials.
Engineering estimates — which can vary due to factors such as weather, store operations and systems performance — indicate that the outlet will use 200,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity while generating 220,000 kilowatt hours.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said, “I am proud that an Illinois-based corporation like Walgreens is taking the lead in the use of green technology, which will be a model for all retail operations across the country. The best energy sources are free, renewable and have little environmental impact — and that’s exactly what Walgreens is doing in Evanston.”
Anticipating a possible platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design program, Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said, “By delivering a LEED Platinum building, Walgreens has exceeded Evanston’s green building goals and is a strong partner in our commitment to sustainable development and responsible use of natural resources. The new Walgreens store is a model for green building innovation and will serve as an excellent demonstration of next generation technologies and forward thinking eco-leadership.”
The store has received GreenChill platinum certification from the U.S. EPA for its state-of-the-art refrigeration and air conditioning system. The certification was designed for supermarkets, and this is the first time it is being awarded to a small-format store.
Thomas Connolly, Walgreens vice president of facilities development, said, “We are investing in a net-zero energy store so we can bring what we learn to our other stores and share what we learn with other companies. Because we operate more than 8,000 stores, anything we do that reduces our carbon footprint can have a broad, positive impact on the nation’s environment.”