Drugstore chain giant Walgreens has announced its intention to build what the company believes will be the first net zero retail store in the United States. Once open for business, engineers anticipate that the combination of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration will allow the new store to produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes.
Walgreens already has a number of green technology achievements under its belt. Of its 8,000 or so stores throughout the nation, 150 make use of solar power generation, there's one in Oak Park (IL) that's using a geothermal system and another in Texas that harnesses energy from the wind. Some 400 of its stores offer electric vehicle charging, and 15 Walgreens distribution centers generate more revenue from recycling than they spend on dealing with waste.
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The company also runs two gold status LEED certified stores, and aims to have the new net zero store achieve LEED Platinum certification.
Located in Evanston (IL), at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street, the new store will replace an existing Walgreens outlet that's currently undergoing demolition. The company says that it will be constructed using energy efficient building materials, have more than 800 roof-top solar panels, two wind turbines, and will tap into geothermal energy 550 feet (167 meters) below the store to heat or cool the establishment in winter and summer.
Walgreens estimates that the new store will use 200,000 kWh of electricity per year, while generating 256,000 kWh over the same period. The company is hoping that the new store will achieve net zero status within two years.