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Evanston got a brand new Walgreens yesterday—but this isn't your run-of-the-mill drugstore. Billed as the country's first net-zero retail store, the location incorporates two wind turbines, some 850 solar panels, and an underground geothermal system.
Hopefully, all the green-i-fying bells and whistles will help the store produce as much energy as it consumes—or even more. Pretty mind-mind blowing stuff. Here's a little primer on how it will work:
· The hundreds of rooftop panels can generate enough energy to power 30 Illinois homes for a year.
· The 35-foot-tall wind turbines harness Lake Michigan breezes to generate power that offsets annual greenhouse gas emissions from 2.2 passenger vehicles
· The geothermal energy was obtained by drilling 550 feet into the ground below, where temperatures are more constant and can be tapped to help heat or cool the store.
· There are also LED lights, carbon dioxide refrigerant for the refrigeration equipment, and energy-efficient building materials.
Rest assured, these efforts shan't go unnoticed: The store is anticipating a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.
The format of this Walgreens is a little different, too. Based on the brand's new "Well Experience," there's an emphasis on patient-pharmacist interaction. Features include an "Ask Your Pharmacist" desk, consultation rooms, and an Express Rx kiosk for fast checkout.
The Evanston location was selected because of its proximity to Walgreens' Deerfield HQ. This way, company engineers can hop in and out of the store constantly to check on its energy output.
· Walgreens [Official Site]
· First Look Inside Evanston's Net-Zero Walgreens [Racked Chicago]
· Walgreens Continues Journey Into Future [Racked Chicago]