San Diego, CA- Walgreens celebrated the opening of the countries first green drugstore yesterday not with a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony however with the planting of the native tree. “We felt that planting a tree was a lot more appropriate then cutting a ribbon and after that throwing it away” said Jamie J. Meyers, The LEED AP Project architect who was there for the celebrations.
Walgreens, the nations largest drug store chain is yet again changing the landscape for the American consumer, this time around for the greener. The shop involved was made from the beginning round the dual mission of efficiency and sustainability. Not merely could it be the very first drug store within the U.S. to meet the USGBCs stringent LEED design standards but the 24-hour store also sells numerous environmentally friendly products.
By exceeding LEED requirements and integrating eco-friendly product lines into their inventory they have taken steps that cannot just be related to the most popular corporate “greenwashing” With this project and future plans for many a lot more like it, Walgreens hours makes a significant commitment to sustainability. Listed below are just a few of the things they may have built into this store on the architectural side;
-Take as an example the landscaping- They used all native plants that can require no watering whatsoever once they have adjusted to transplanting. In San Diego, Ca that’s quite a big issue as we are in the midst of a level two drought emergency. -They took great pains to minimize lighting energy waste by making use of 75% natural sunlight during daytime hours. This was achieved with the installation of solar tubes and skylights that shine down from the ceiling. This coupled with LEDs in their signs and coolers reduces lighting related energy use by 50%
They may be mitigating storm water pollution from the surrounding buildings by collecting and filtering water because it flows onto their lot. Water use is estimated at 50% below LEED standard levels. 75% of materials were architectural salvage through the previous structure that existed on the lot. A white roof was included to lessen cooling related energy use or even mitigate the urban heat island effect.
There are many other green details also, such as hybrid car parking spaces, a bicycle rack, along with a site chosen to some extent for it’s close proximity to public transportation. While others such as Wal-Mart and Target make token gestures for the green movement Walgreens really seems to obtain it. As there is still room for additional improvement, the significant steps they may have come to “going green” far surpass the typical dog and pony demonstrate that passes for environmentalism these days in many companies.
At some point the question was seriously posed- “Just how can we make ourselves more effective and sustainable?” And someone spent the time to locate some awnsers. Yet here we discover the question that most modern companies will be up against as energy prices soar and also the public grows more aware of their own effect on the planet. Whether it’s the product they produce, the service they offer, or even the items that they offer companies large and small cannot escape the changes which can be occurring within our environment. Those who don’t reply to these changes will find yourself like Walgreens competitors including Eckerd; just struggling to keep up with the pack.
A medical history of Steady Progress – “Walgreens is making great progress on our environmental initiatives in stores chain-wide. Were cutting our electricity and water usage, recycling plenty of cardboard and shrink rgxtwu annually and upgrading equipment for max efficiency” Said Walgreens Market V . P . Matt Sesto
Walgreens has never been a trendy/flashy company. Quite the opposite, they are a household run All-American company with a long past of steady progress. Most of the time they are among the initial to implement innovative strategies just like the switch to bar-code scanning technology, as well as the expansion into film development within the 1970’s. Additionally they were at the forefront of adapting a more convenient, customer friendly format in a time when drugstores were rather limited in scope. Through all of these changes however they have always kept true with their identity as, “Americas corner drugstore”.
So when an organization like Walgreens outlines a broad ranging eco friendly strategy it means something in terms of their future intentions. As stated by Jim Collins (Author of ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’) within an article titled Best Beats First; “they (Walgreens) might be slow- following a crawl, walk, run, trajectory, but when they run, they will run right over companies that believe being first is all that matters.” So when Walgreens tells me that they plan to build much more new green locations, as well as do additional environmentally friendly modifications for their 6,857 existing locations- I believe them. This store alone is saving enough energy to power 19 homes a year- imagine what the combined effect is going to be!