San Diego, CA- Walgreens celebrated the opening of the countries first green drugstore yesterday not with an old-fashioned ribbon-cutting ceremony though with the planting of a native tree. “We felt that planting a tree was far more ideal then cutting a ribbon and then throwing it away” said Jamie J. Meyers, The LEED AP Project architect who was there for the celebrations.
Walgreens, the nations largest pharmacy chain is once more changing the landscape for that American consumer, this time for that greener. A store involved was created from the ground-up around the dual mission of efficiency and sustainability. Not merely will it be the initial drug store inside the U.S. to satisfy the USGBCs stringent LEED design standards however the 24-hour store also sells a number of eco friendly products.
By exceeding LEED requirements and integrating eco-friendly product lines within their inventory they have taken steps that cannot just be related to the common corporate “greenwashing” With this project and future plans for a lot of a lot more like it, storeholidayhours.org has made a severe dedication to sustainability. Listed below are just a few of the points they have built into this store on the architectural side;
-Take for instance the landscaping- They used all native plants that can require no watering whatsoever when they have adjusted to transplanting. Here in San Diego, Ca that’s quite a big deal as we are in the middle of a level two drought emergency. -They took great pains to lessen lighting energy waste by utilizing 75% natural sunlight during daytime hours. This was achieved with the installation of solar tubes and skylights that shine down through the ceiling. This along with LEDs inside their signs and coolers reduces lighting related energy use by 50%
These are mitigating storm water pollution from your surrounding buildings by collecting and filtering water as it flows onto their lot. Water use is estimated at 50% below LEED standard levels. 75% of materials were architectural salvage from the previous structure that existed on the lot. A white roof was included to minimize cooling related energy use in addition to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
There are numerous other green details as well, such as hybrid car parking spaces, a bike rack, as well as a site chosen partly for it’s close proximity to public transport. While others including Wal-Mart and Target have made token gestures towards the green movement Walgreens really seems to get it. Nevertheless there is still room for further improvement, the significant steps they have taken to “going green” far surpass the standard dog and pony show that passes for environmentalism today in lots of companies.
At some time the question was seriously posed- “How could we make ourselves more effective and sustainable?” And someone spent the time to discover some awnsers. Yet here we find the question that every modern companies will be up against as energy prices soar as well as the public gets to be more aware of their own effect on the planet. Whether it’s the merchandise they produce, the service they offer, or the items that they offer companies large and small cannot escape the changes that are occurring in our environment. People who don’t respond to these changes will find yourself like Walgreens competitors including Eckerd; just struggling to keep up with the rest.
A record of Steady Progress – “Walgreens is making great progress on our environmental initiatives in shops chain-wide. Were cutting our electricity and water usage, recycling a lot of cardboard and shrink rgxtwu annually and upgrading equipment for optimum efficiency” Said Walgreens Market V . P . Matt Sesto
Walgreens has never been a fashionable/flashy company. Quite the exact opposite, they are a family run All-American company having a long history of steady progress. In many cases they have been among the first to implement innovative strategies just like the change to bar-code scanning technology, and the expansion into film development in the 1970’s. In addition they were the main thing on adapting a more convenient, customer friendly format in a time when drugstores were rather limited in scope. Through all of these changes but they have always kept true to their identity as, “Americas corner drugstore”.
So when a company like Walgreens outlines a large ranging environmentally friendly strategy it truly means something with regards to their future intentions. As i have said by Jim Collins (Author of ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’) within an article titled Best Beats First; “they (Walgreens) might be slow- using a crawl, walk, run, trajectory, but when they run, they will run right over companies that believe being first is all that matters.” Then when Walgreens tells me that they intend to build much more new green locations, in addition to do additional eco friendly modifications to their 6,857 existing locations- I think them. This store alone is saving enough energy to power 19 homes annually- imagine what the combined effect is going to be!