Whenever a business opens another location, it has to consider the environmental advantages and problems involved with doing so. For one, adding another branch means there is less green space to absorb carbon dioxide, but at Walgreens, company leaders are working on decreasing its carbon footprint while also expanding.
The drug store chain may have more than 8,000 locations, but it is has taken the steps to increase its green recycling efforts by using solar, wind, and geothermal energy, Sustainable Business reported. About 5,000 locations use LED light bulbs at 25 watts, which is the lowest in the industry, while 15 distribution centers have also achieved net-zero energy waste.
Walgreens decided to take it a step further by opening its first net-zero energy location in Evanston, Illinois. This location takes the advantages of wind power from Lake Michigan, alternative refrigeration systems, and 850 solar panels to create this environmentally friendly space.
Local engineers estimated that the Evanston store will consume about 200,000 hours of energy, but based on its sustainable resources, it will have about 20,000 energy hours left over.
“This is the first time we are bringing all three of these technologies and many more together in one place,” Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management, said in the release. “Our purpose as a company is to help people get, stay, and live well, and that includes making our planet more livable by conserving resources and reducing pollution.”
Other eco-friendly amenities include an electric vehicle charging station, bicycle repair shop, and bike racks — encouraging customers to consider alternative transportation methods.
Since the store opened on November 21, Walgreens has applied to be a certified net-zero energy building under the Living Building Challenge, as well as LEED Platinum. So far, it has only been recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as a GreenChill Platinum building.
As business owners try to implement their own environmentally conscious efforts, entrepreneurs will soon realize that these changes require a high volume of resources; however, it is possible for a company to go green without maximizing its budget.
Used office furnishings for example, are lightly-used pieces that have been carefully selected for long-term commercial use. The eco-friendly process that goes into their re-distribution allows less material to end up in landfills.