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Walgreens building net-zero energy retail store in Evanston

Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

DEERFIELD – Walgreens announced plans Thursday to build what the company believes will be the nation’s first net-zero energy retail store, which engineers predict will produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes.

Walgreens plans to achieve that by utilizing solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration.

“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. Because we operate 8,000 stores, we believe our pursuit of green technology can have a significant positive impact on the nation’s environment.”

The store will be located in Evanston, at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street, where demolition of an existing Walgreens store now is under way.

The Chicago-area location will allow convenient access for Walgreens engineers based at the company’s headquarters in Deerfield to measure the store’s performance for an entire year to determine if the store reaches its goal of net-zero energy use.

Walgreens plans to generate electricity and reduce its usage by more than 40 percent through several technologies. 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 256,000 kilowatt hours per year.

Walgreens will attempt to have the store achieve LEED Platinum status, which is the most stringent green designation by the U. S. Green Building Council.

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