Walgreens Net Zero Store to open in November in Evanston - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Walgreens Net Zero Store to open in November in Evanston

Rendering Courtesy of Walgreens

This rendering shows what Walgreens' first net-zero store will look like.

This November, Walgreens will open a new store at 635 Chicago Ave. in Evanston, Ill., just north of Chicago. But it won’t be just another store—this unique building will attempt to be the first by a major retailer in the U.S. to generate more energy than it consumes. Through the use of 850 solar panels and two wind turbines, the store will produce an estimated 220,000 kwh of electricity—more than the 200,000 kwh that energy modeling shows the building will use.

The use of geothermal energy (eight 550-foot deep boreholes), all-LED lighting, natural ventilation, daylight harvesting, automatic dimmers, control strategies and an ultra-high efficiency mechanical system, will reduce the amount of energy used by 56 percent over a typical store. The solar panel system will generate about 90 percent of the store’s energy with the rest coming from two 8-foot-diameter turbines situated on site.

The project also will attempt to achieve LEED® Platinum certification, Living Building Challenge Net Zero certification, Green Chill Platinum certification, will be Energy Star certified, and will be the showcase project in the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Better Building Challenge. To accomplish these goals, the store will use an all-natural CO₂ refrigeration system, mechanically operable windows, water reduction strategies including all native landscaping to eliminate the need for irrigation, and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) finishes and fixtures. The site, which is situated within a half-mile of the Main Street Metra and CTA Station, and several bus lines, will have two electric vehicle car charging stations and a bicycle maintenance stand, encouraging employees to choose more environmentally friendly ways to commute to the store.

Constructing the store.

Photo courtesy of Walgreens

Walgreens hopes to use this store as a testing ground for some of the latest green technologies, products and materials, with the ultimate goal of finding ways to incorporate these ideas into the company’s national design standards. The store hasn’t even opened its doors yet, and the decision has already been made to move to all-LED lighting chain-wide. This move, by itself, will save the equivalent of 7.4 million gallons of gasoline each year over the next 10 years.

Follow the progress of the project online at its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Walgreens-Net-Zero-Community/141953242640364

Dan Garneau manages the development entitlement process for and oversees the design of all new Walgreens stores in the Midwest.


  1. 1. Dennis Kois from Wisconsin on November 21, 2013

    Good for Walgreen' s and the environment. What took so long? Corporate America needs to lead.

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