Net zero Walgreens prototype rises with CalStar masonry units

Sources: Walgreen Co., Deerfield, Ill.; CP staff

Fly ash-bound brick and paver producer CalStar Products Inc. in Racine, Wis., is among suppliers to what retail giant Walgreen believes will be the nation’s first net zero energy store—engineered to produce an amount of power equal to or greater than what it consumes.

Blocks from the city of Chicago’s north border, the store will replace an existing Evanston, Ill., Walgreens. Contributing to the net zero operating mode will be the unit masonry and other energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting, ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration, and geothermal technology, coupled with solar panel- and wind turbine-derived power. Engineering estimates, subject to weather, store operation and systems performance factor variations, indicate the facility will use 200,000 kWh and generate 256,000 kWh of electricity annually. The location will allow convenient access for Walgreens engineers, based at the company’s north suburban Chicago headquarters, to measure performance for an entire year to determine if the store reaches its net zero energy use goal.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology,” says Walgreens Vice President of Facilities Development Thomas Connolly. “We are investing in developing a net-zero store so we can learn the best way to bring these features to our other stores.” With 8,000 retail locations, he adds, “We believe our pursuit of green technology can have a significant positive impact on the nation’s environment.”