Green From the Ground Up
Walgreens became the first drugstore in the country to meet top environmental requirements for efficiency and design in 2009 with the opening of its Mira Mesa, Calif., store. This location is designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards -- a certification only granted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
This Walgreens store received gold certification -- the second-highest rating achievable in the LEED rating system.
Walgreens also opened a store designed to LEED standards in its hometown of Chicago that same year -- the first drugstore of its kind in the state of Illinois. Features include:
- A "green roof" that uses plants to help insulate the store
- White coating on roof to reduce heating and cooling costs
- Efficient plumbing fixtures that help save nearly 34,000 gallons of water each year
- Energy-efficient LED lighting in coolers
- Preferred parking for hybrid vehicles
"It may look like a regular Walgreens from the outside, but once you take a closer look it really is green from the ground up," said Walgreens district manager Steven DiLullo. Additional LEED-registered projects are in the works for stores in Lorton, Va., Goodyear, Ariz., Chapel Hill, N.C. and Normal, Ill.
Small lights can make a big difference, especially in energy savings. Walgreens uses LED lights in its coolers because they use 50 percent less energy than a fluorescent lamp and last twice as long. LED lights also do not contain any substances that harm the environment after they are disposed.