Walgreens announced plans last week to build one of the nation's first net-zero retail stores. The Evanston, Ill., location will utilize solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration to produce energy equal to or greater than the building consumes.
The Chicago-area location will allow convenient access for Walgreens engineers based at the company’s headquarters in Deerfield, Ill., 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 in the store including:
- more than 800 roof-top solar panels
- two wind turbines
- 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
- LED lighting and daylight harvesting
- carbon dioxide refrigerant for heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment
- 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 256,000 kilowatt hours per year.
Over the past year, Walgreens engineers have worked with the city of Evanston and vendors, including Trane, CREE Lighting, Acuity Lighting, Cooper Lighting, CalStar Products, GE Lighting, Geothermal International, SoCore Energy, Wing Power and Camburas and Theodore Architects.