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Walgreens goes green with store built to LEED standards

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Deerfield, Ill. Walgreens on Wednesday will celebrate the grand opening of the first drug store in Illinois designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The LEED system, developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is the recognized standard for measuring a building’s sustainability quotient.

The new store, in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, features a “green roof” with plants growing on it. The roof also has a reflective white coating to help reduce heating and cooling costs. The store will save nearly 34,000 gallons of water a year with efficient water fixtures.

“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. “Customers can find informational signs inside that highlight these features so they can feel good about what we’re doing and where they shop.”

The new Walgreens is registered with the USGBC to receive LEED certification. It will be reviewed and given a specific level of certification within four-to-six months.

The store is located on a brownfield site, which was cleaned up and redeveloped for the project. During construction, 85% of the waste was diverted from landfills Coolers, freezers and exterior signs all use LED lights, reducing energy use by 50% over fluorescent lighting. It is estimated that the store will save enough electricity to power more than five homes a year. In addition, there is special parking for hybrid vehicles, bike racks and nearby public transportation. This is the second LEED-registered store that Walgreens has opened to date. The first opened in June, in Mira Mesa, Calif. In early 2010, the drug store chain will open a LEED-registered store in Normal, Ill., with two more locations to follow.

The company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint also include the use of solar-energy systems on 74 of its locations in California, Connecticut, New Jersey and Oregon.

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