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Net-Zero Energy Store Planned by Walgreens

Evanston, Illinois, will be the home of the first retail store in the United States to be able to produce more energy than it uses, putting Walgreens, the company behind it, at the forefront of green retail buildings.

Walgreens says that their net-zero energy building will include geothermal technology, solar panels, wind turbines, LED lighting, and super high-efficiency refrigeration units, as well as the use of energy efficient materials in the building itself. The new store will be located at the site of an existing store, in Evanston, which which is being demolished.

The retailer aims to achieve some of their goal through reducing the energy demand at the store by 40%, partly through integrating geothermal wells to handle the heating and cooling of the building and installing very efficient appliances and lights throughout. The building will also have its own source of electricity with some 800 solar panels on the roof and a pair of vertical axis wind turbines.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology. 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.” – Thomas Connolly, Walgreens VP of facilities development

After the building is completed, engineers at Walgreens will measure the performance of the store over the course of an entire year to determine if the building is actually achieving the goal of net zero energy use, or if adjustments or additions need to be made.

The announcement from Walgreens sets a new clean energy benchmark for retail buildings, and with any luck, it may spur other retailers to follow suit with net-zero energy stores when building new stores.

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