Lots of businesses like to claim that they're carbon neutral, but in most cases, it simply means that they're buying carbon offsets from some place that could be thousands of miles away. Pharmacy chain Walgreens has decided to take its green initiative (called Walgreens Net Zero) to the local level, by building a store that will generate all of its electricity needs right on site.
The store is being built in Evanston Illinois and will use a combination of solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal generators to deliver the power. To ensure that those precious watts are then used to their maximum potential, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting, and ultra-efficient refrigeration will be employed to stretch the power as much as possible. The architect's calculations predict that the store will be able to generate about 265,000 KWh per year, while store operations will require only around 200,000 KWh, meaning that on average, the building should be able to deliver more power back to the grid than it needs.
With 8,000 stores around the nation, this single example won't really make a big dent in Walgreens' carbon footprint, but it will be an important proof of concept and hopefully an inspiration for other retailers who want to make their stores more energy efficient.