Walgreens Net-Zero Store Set to Open

At presstime, construction was wrapping up on Walgreens’ new location in Evanston, Ill. The store is the drug store chain’s — and the nation’s — first net-zero energy retail store. In addition to seeking LEED Platinum certification, Green Chill Platinum certification and Energy Star Certification, it will be the showcase project in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge.

Befitting its net-zero status, the new Walgreens is employing a number of alternative energy sources and energy-efficient technologies. The use of geothermal energy (eight 550-foot deep boreholes), all-LED lighting, natural ventilation, daylight harvesting, automatic dimmers, control strategies and an ultra-high efficiency mechanical system will reduce the amount of energy used by 56% over a typical facility.

The solar panel system — consisting of about 850 roof-top panels — will generate about 90% of the store’s energy. The remainder will come from two wind turbines that are located on site. Through the use of the solar panels and the turbines, the store will produce an estimated 220,000 kwh of electricity — more than the 200,000 kwh that energy modeling shows the building will use. 

In other key features, Walgreens is using an all-natural CO refrigeration system for heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment. 

Walgreens hopes to use this store as a testing ground for the latest green technologies, products and materials, with a goal of finding ways to incorporate some of the concepts into its national design standards.

(Walgreens will present an in-depth look at its net-zero energy store on March 10, 2014, at Chain Store Age’s SPECS conference, at the Gaylord Texan, Grapevine,Texas. For details, go to specsshow.com.)

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