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Walgreens plans to build a facility that makes more energy than it needs

Walgreens is a pharmacy chain within the United States that seems to have several stores in just about every modestly sized city. Like many large corporations, the company is working hard to reduce the amount of energy that its locations consume. Part of this push is to gain itself some green credibility and another part of the push is to help reduce the amount of money the company spends on electricity.

Walgreens has announced that it will use a number of green technologies to construct a zero energy retail store. The company believes that the location will be the first net zero energy store within the United States.
“We are investing in developing a net-zero store so we can learn the best way to bring these features to our other stores,” said Thomas Connolly, Walgreens vice president of facilities development, in an interview with Energy Manager Today.
The company will rely on large solar panel arrays, geothermal energy, wind turbines, and LED lighting. Individually, these technologies have all been around for a number of years.

For instance, Philips offers its Hue LED light bulb for anyone who wants to try out green lighting. The good part about Hue LED light bulb and a myriad of other brands that are available on the market is that not only do they consume significantly less energy than a traditional incandescent light bulb, but many of them also allow you to tune the color of the light to your preference.

LED bulbs also last much longer than a traditional incandescent bulbs and produce less heat. In a large retail environment with a huge number of bulbs there is a potential to significantly reduce the energy needed to cool a location thanks to less heat output from an LED bulb.
Solar panels will play a big part in the zero energy building Walgreens is constructing. The concept drawings of the facility show the entire roofing surface covered with solar panels. It's unclear what sort of solar panels Walgreens will use, but they will undoubtedly be among the most efficient available on the market.

Geothermal electricity production is also nothing new. Back in 2009 researchers at MIT developed a new process that they believe can provide 10% of the electricity needed in America by 2050. Geothermal energy, much like solar power, produces little or no pollution and doesn't require fossil fuels to produce electricity.

Walgreens plans to build its zero energy location in Evanston, Illinois. The building will be constructed at the intersection of Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street. There is an existing Walgreens location at that address that is now being demolished to clear the way for one of the greenest retail buildings in the country.

Walgreens estimates that the store will require 200,000 kWh of electricity per year and will generate 256,000 kWh of energy each year. Energy production from the store will of course vary depending on weather, store operations, and the system performance.

Sources: Inhabitat, Forbes, Facebook

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RE: light efficiency
By talikarni on 3/12/2013 4:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
CFLs are horrible at power cycling.

That is the main issue and why the gov't is trying to outlaw standard bulbs.
Standard 10-40 cents per bulb versus $3 per CFL
Standards can last years whether its on constantly or only on 2 minutes per day versus the CFL only lasts long if it is in a fixture that is on for long periods of time (more than an hour at a time).

This is why my house has a mixture. The rooms that tend to have lights on for longer periods use CFL (living room, garage, kitchen, office), the rest have standard bulbs (bathrooms, closets, storage areas, hallway). I also use CFLs outside since it rarely gets cold enough here to mess with the lighting (north Florida).

The main thing holding back adoption of even CFLs on a large scale are its limits, the short life in high power cycling rooms, temperature aversion, even cost. The average person would still rather buy a 4 pack for $1 (Standards) than a 3 pack for $6 (CFL). If they won't spend an extra $2-3 per bulb, then LEDs at minimum $10 each is no bueno.

RE: light efficiency
By JediJeb on 3/13/2013 11:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
I use CFL outside on my porch lights but during the winter I just leave them on all the time, otherwise it takes ten minutes for them to even light up completely. Even then running all day they use less energy than a regular bulb running only at night.

Inside I have had to revert to regular bulbs or LEDs because most of the lighting fixtures are inclosed and CFLs really don't last long inside one of those. Trouble I am having is finding open fixtures that both look good and don't cost a fortune. I am slowly replacing the inclosed fixtures where I can, because even the LEDs prefer the open ones, just not as sensitive as the CFLs.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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