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Walgreens plans first net-zero retail store in U.S.

Posting in Energy

Retail stores, like Walgreens, brand themselves as one-stop shops for all your needs. Now, a new Walgreens store will also have all the energy-making technology to meet its energy needs.

The plan is for the new store to produce more energy than it consumes, making it a net-zero energy store -- the company calls the store the first net-zero energy retail store in the United States.

Located in the northern Chicago suburb, Evanston, Ill., the new store will have 800 rooftop solar panels, two wind turbines, and will drill 550-feet below the store to tap into geothermal energy. The store also aims to reduce its overall energy use by using LED lighting and daylight harvesting, in addition to using energy efficient building materials and carbon dioxide refrigerant. The building is estimated to use 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year but produce 256,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, on site.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology,” said Thomas Connolly, Walgreens vice president of facilities development. “We are investing in developing a net-zero store so we can learn the best way to bring these features to our other stores." Walgreens operates a total of about 8,000 stores.

On a business-wide scale, Walgreens is working at reducing energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 through the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge.

When Walgreens' net-zero store is built it plans to apply for LEED Platinum status and Living Building Challenge certification, two of the most stringent green building certifications available.

Photo: Walgreens

— By on March 7, 2013, 2:53 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure