Walgreens Gets Greener in Evanston

Not only will the new Walgreens be built from recycled materials, it will also be the nation's first "net zero energy" store.

Image Source: Business Wire A rendering of the net zero energy Walgreens to open at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Keeney in Evanston.

The largest retail chain is bringing a big, bold sustainable energy plan to its new Evanston store: Net Zero Energy. What's that? Well, the process means the Walgreens store will produce more energy than it uses, or, net zero energy. It's the first energy-producing store built in the country and part of a far-reaching environmentally friendly plan the Deerfield-based corporation intends to implement across its 8,000 store properties.

The goal is to slash energy usage by 20 percent by 2020. Although the net zero store is more expensive to build, after roll-out the energy usage is estimated at 40 percent less than the average Walgreens. Over time that's some pretty green savings. The company has been on a green journey for over two years under its umbrella operation: the PURE Walgreens sustainable energy program.

The proposed high-tech store will generate electricity via 800 rooftop solar panels, LED lighting and daylight harvesting, and the use of geothermal energy sources by drilling 550 feet below surface to tap hot or cool temperatures during summer or winter. Trivia: the Oakpark Walgreens already uses geothermal energy. Walgreens is aiming for the whole enchilada, a LEED Platinum certification for the Evanston location. To show off a bit, they'll enter the store in the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge.  What a cool idea.

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