Walgreens installs geothermal energy system

Deerfield, Ill. Walgreens on Monday announced the opening of the nation’s first drugstore chain location to utilize geothermal energy for heating and cooling. The store, in Oak Park, Ill., is expected to reduce its energy usage by about 46% as a result of the geothermal system.

Walgreens worked on its Oak Park location with Evanston, Ill.-based Indie Energy, which specializes in designing and installing geothermal systems. The company’s Smart Geothermal technology system significantly cuts heating and cooling costs and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“This is the most innovative and sustainable Walgreens yet and we are proud to showcase our commitment to the environment here in Oak Park,” said Walgreens VP facilities development Tom Connolly. “We are always looking for new and creative ways to reduce our carbon footprint. After considering the use of geothermal, we have now made it a reality.”

Walgreens’ geothermal system harnesses the earth’s heat utilizing a network of four closed-loop boreholes installed to depths of 650 ft., and a heat-exchange system with the building that is controlled by Indie’s Energy EnergyLoop technology. A water-based heat transfer liquid exchanges heating and cooling energy with the earth, which provides a constant temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Inside the store, the geothermal heat pump and refrigeration systems pull heating energy from the fluid, or reject heat to the fluid to cool. The EnergyLoop system monitors and optimizes this exchange in real-time to provide the maximum energy efficiency.

“This type of system can work anywhere, but makes a lot of sense here in the Midwest,” said Connolly. “The ability to heat to room-temperature from 55 degrees, rather than from 10 degrees or cool it from 98 degrees will save a lot of energy.”

The store was also built with other green features, including a dimming system for sales floor lighting when natural sunlight is able to brighten most of the sales floor and polished concrete floors made from recycled content. Also, LED lights are used throughout the store in coolers and in ceiling accent lighting.