Walgreens: Net Zero Evanston Store


Walgreens' robust energy efficiency program for existing buildings includes LED lighting, HVAC retrofits, cooler door retrofits, and energy management systems. Walgreens also has over 150 locations with solar arrays and a store with a geothermal system. Walgreens incorporated the best practices from all of these efforts in its first net zero energy designed retail store, which opened in November 2013 in Evanston, Illinois.



The Evanston store was designed to produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes by implementing energy-efficient and renewable energy technologies including: energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting, ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration, solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal technology.


Walgreens incorporated the following renewable energy measures on site:

  • 849 solar panels estimated to generate 220,000 kWh of electricity per year.
  • 2 wind turbines expected to generate approximately 10,000 kWh per year.

Walgreens incorporated the following energy efficiency measures:

  • LED lighting for all internal and external lighting needs.
  • Five-zone dimming system for daylight harvesting with clerestory windows and light diffusing window film, to result in an expected 40% savings on lighting.
  • A geothermal CO2 triple stage heat pump for heating, cooling, and refrigeration and domestic hot water, to result in an expected 60% savings on heating, cooling, and refrigeration.
  • Operable windows for natural ventilation, to result in an expected 10% savings on heating and cooling costs.
  • Revolving door expected to result in 4.5% energy savings.
  • Building integrated controls, custom designed to optimize energy efficiency and synergies of all building systems.


Walgreens set a goal of achieving LEED® Platinum status for the store, the most challenging green designation of the U.S. Green Building Council. Walgreens also expected to enter the store into the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge and apply for Green Globes certification and EPA Greenchill Platinum certification.


A typical Walgreens in this region of the country uses approximately 425,000 kWh per year, and initial studies showed that only 230,000 kWh per year could be generated from renewable sources. The net zero goal required Walgreens to push into new and innovative energy efficiency technologies that helped deliver a nearly 60% energy reduction. Walgreens plans to use the lessons learned at this store to inform design and construction of other net zero locations across the country.


*Expected savings includes energy efficiency technologies and solar.

Annual Energy Use

(Source EUI)
Baseline ASHRAE Standard
287 kBtu/sq. ft.
56 kBtu/sq. ft.*

Energy Savings:


Annual Energy Cost

Baseline ASHRAE Standard

Cost Savings:


Sector Type



Evanston, Illinois

Project Size

14,000 Square Feet

Net zero wind turbine
Net zero wind turbine

Installing the transcritical CO2 heat pump
Installing the transcritical CO2 heat pump

Exterior shot of the net zero store
Exterior shot of the net zero store