Retail store focuses on increasing energy efficiency

Posted on: July 18th, 2013
Retail store focuses on increasing energy efficiency

Retail store focuses on increasing energy efficiency

Homeowners are not the only ones who are focusing their attention on reducing energy use. Reports are flooding the internet of retail commercial outlets making subtle and sometimes large changes to the design of existing and new buildings to reduce the energy required for operations.

For example, Forbes reported that pharmacy-giant Walgreens, which is based out of Deerfield, Illinois, has dedicated itself toward building America’s first net-zero energy retail store. The company is a regular fixture on corner streets in many towns in America, which makes the organization’s commitment to energy efficiency even more of a symbol of the changing times. Walgreens made the announcement about its plans this spring.

“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, according to the news source.

If construction goes to plan, Walgreens’ strategy for achieving net-zero status includes a number of energy-efficient technologies that should help decrease usage and increase production.

“Engineering estimates — which can vary due to factors such as weather, store operations and systems performance — indicate that the store will use 200,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity while generating 256,000 kilowatt hours per year,” Walgreens writes, according to Clean Technica.

The new store will be located in Evanston, Illinois. Forbes reported that the retail location will be outfitted with more than 800 roof-top solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal wells, light emitting diode bulbs and energy-efficient building materials. This is often the standard approach used in other successful net-zero construction projects, however, it has not yet been proven in commercial use.

The use of geothermal technology will allow the store to depend on energy that is stored directly on site. The solar energy stored within the earth can be extracted using modern geothermal heat pumps and heat circulated with a hydraulic system. Instead of consuming energy to transport energy such as oil and gas, the source is right there. In addition, geothermal energy is an especially clean resource that requires only a slight amount of electricity to run the pumping system – in this case the energy will come from solar panels.

More and more business owners are focusing on improving the energy efficiency of store locations. Perhaps the success of this project will further demonstrate the power of geothermal energy and the many benefits it can bring.

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