DEERFIELD, Ill., April 19, 2011 - As part of “Earth Month” in Illinois, Gov. Patrick Quinn today toured a Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)(NASDAQ: WAG) drugstore in Oak Park, Ill., that features the first geothermal energy system used in a chain drugstore in the country. The system, which went live when the store opened last October, has reduced the store’s expected energy usage by 60 percent.
Oak Park, Ill. Walgreens (Courtesy: Padgett & Co.)
“We are proud to showcase our commitment to the environment here in Oak Park with Gov. Quinn,” said Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson, who accompanied the governor on the store tour. “Geothermal energy is an important way we can reduce our carbon footprint, and through the innovative, sustainable design of this store, we have made it a reality.”
Gov. Quinn said, “Walgreens has shown that it is smart for businesses to think green. By making our businesses, homes and public buildings more sustainable, we are creating jobs, reducing energy costs and ensuring a cleaner and greener future for Illinois.”
Walgreens worked on its Oak Park location with Evanston, Ill.-based Indie Energy, which specializes in designing and installing geothermal systems. The company’s Smart GeothermalTM technology system significantly cuts heating and cooling costs and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The store also features a Level 2 electric vehicle charging station, which can add up to 25 miles of range per hour of charge. Working with 350Green, Walgreens plans to install charging stations at about 30 additional Chicago-area stores beginning this summer. “For our customers with electric vehicles, we will offer some of the area’s best corners to help give people the confidence to drive longer distances while having access to charging stations,” said Wasson.
Harnessing the earth’s heat
The Oak Park Walgreens geothermal system harnesses the earth’s heat utilizing a network of four closed-loop boreholes installed to depths of 650 feet, and a heat exchange system with the building that is controlled by Indie Energy EnergyLoopTM technology. A water-based heat transfer liquid exchanges heating and cooling energy with the earth, which provides a constant temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside the store, the geothermal heat pump and refrigeration systems pull heating energy from the fluid, or reject heat to the fluid to cool. The EnergyLoopTM system monitors and optimizes this exchange in real-time to provide the maximum energy efficiency.
Wasson said, “This type of system makes a lot of sense here in the Midwest. The ability to heat to room-temperature from 55 degrees rather than from 10 degrees, or cool it from 98 degrees, is saving a lot of energy.”
An informational kiosk at the store shows customers energy usage and savings from the geothermal system in real-time. The store was also built with other green features:
- The store uses a dimming system for sales floor lighting when natural sunlight is able to brighten most of the sales floor.
- Polished concrete floors made from recycled content eliminate use of vinyl flooring and will save on maintenance.
- LED lights are used throughout the store in coolers and in ceiling accent lighting.
- Lavatory sinks are made entirely from recycled content, and hand dryers are powered by lights within the lavatory.
Other environmentally-friendly initiatives that Walgreens has implemented or plans to install in the near future in Illinois include:
- Two LEED-registered stores currently open, in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago and in Normal, Ill.
- Green roofs installed at several Chicago stores.
- A test in Round Lake Beach, Ill., of LED parking lot lights, which are expected to enhance safety while being 60 percent more energy efficient.
- Solar panels to be installed at Walgreens corporate campus within the next several months.
Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) is the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2010 sales of $67 billion. The company operates 7,697 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 6 million customers the most convenient, multi-channel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.
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