Walgreens to present net zero-energy store at SPECS

New York -- Walgreens will share learnings, insights and real-time performance data gained from building and operating the retail industry’s first net zero-energy store at Chain Store Age’s 50th annual SPECS Conference, March 9 -12, Gaylord Texan Hotel,  Grapevine, Texas.  
“I hope attendees will come away from the SPECS session excited and enthused to try something new,” Jamie Meyers, manager of sustainability, told Chain Store Age during a tour of the store, which is located in Evanston, Ill. “And by sharing what we’ve learned — what to do and what not to do — we hope to make it (net zero-energy stores) more financially feasible for others so that they can become mainstream.”

Meyers and design engineer Jason Robbins will present a real-time update on the store at the SPECS session, “An Industry First: Walgreens Net Zero-Energy Store,” Monday, March 10, at 2:10 pm.

Walgreens has previously used or experimented with many of the technologies featured in the Evanston store. But this is the first time the chain has put them all under one roof.

“We want to learn as much as we can from this store,” Meyers said.

Featuring two 35-ft. tall wind turbines, nearly 850 solar panels, a geothermal system burrowed 550 ft. into the ground, and daylight harvesting, Walgreens plans to generate electricity and reduce its energy usage in the store by more than 50%.

Some of the more unique elements include the use of directional LED lighting (leading to reduced energy use for lighting by 30%), carbon dioxide refrigerant for heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment, and wind turbines that allow wind to be captured from any direction. Also unusual is the sawtooth design of the building, which has separate roof planes.

“The roof is designed to maximize daylighting, “Meyers explained.

To provide as much roof space as possible for the solar panels, all the major equipment is housed in a mechanical mezzanine that is open to public view.
One of the biggest surprises since the Evanston location opened in late 2013, Meyers said, has been the number of people, ranging from other retailers to customers to local school groups, that want to tour it.

“It’s generating a lot of interest,” Meyers said.

As to how the store is performing, Meyers said: “Every day we are putting power back on the grid, and that’s what’s its all about.”
To see photos of Walgreens Evanston, click here.

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