Walgreens opens first net zero energy store

December 9, 2013

Walgreens recently opened what is believed to be the nation’s first zero energy retail store. The Evanston, Ill., store uses approximately 850 solar panels and 2 wind turbines, and is anticipated to produce more energy than it consumes.

Walgreens recently opened what is believed to be the nation’s first net zero energy retail store. The Evanston, Ill., store uses approximately 850 solar panels and 2 wind turbines, and is anticipated to produce more energy than it consumes.

“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,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management.

Walgreens plans to generate electricity and reduce its energy usage in the store by more than 50% through several technologies, including two 35-foot wind turbines and geothermal energy obtained by drilling 550 feet into the ground below the store (where temperatures are more constant and can be tapped to heat or cool the store in winter and summer).

The Evanston store is also using LED lighting, 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 store will use 200,000-kilowatt hours per year of electricity while generating 220,000-kilowatt hours per year.

The store is seeking platinum certification through the U.S. Green Building Council LEED program, Net Zero Certification through the Living Building Challenge, and has received GreenChill platinum certification through the U.S. EPA. GreenChill’s Store Certification Program was designed for supermarkets, and this is the first time a GreenChill certification is being awarded to a small-format store, such as a convenience store or pharmacy.