San Diego, CA- Walgreens celebrated the opening of the nations first green drugstore yesterday not with an old-fashioned ribbon-cutting ceremony though with the planting of the native tree. “We felt that planting a tree was a lot more appropriate then cutting a ribbon then 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 that American consumer, this time for the greener. The shop in question was made through the ground-up round the dual mission of efficiency and sustainability. Not only could it be the initial pharmacy inside the U.S. to satisfy the USGBCs stringent LEED design standards nevertheless the 24-hour store also sells a number of eco friendly products.
By exceeding LEED requirements and integrating eco-friendly product lines to their inventory they may have taken steps that cannot just be attributed to the normal corporate “greenwashing” Using this project and future plans for many a lot more like it, Walgreens opening hours has created a serious commitment to sustainability. Listed below are just some of the things they have that are part of this store on the architectural side;
-Take as an example the landscaping- They used all native plants which will require no watering whatsoever when they have adjusted to transplanting. Within San Diego County that’s a pretty problem as we are in the middle of a level two drought emergency. -They took great pains to reduce lighting energy waste by utilizing 75% natural sunlight during daytime hours. It was achieved with the installation of solar tubes and skylights that shine down through the ceiling. This combined 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 as it flows onto their lot. Water use is estimated at 50% below LEED standard levels. 75% of materials were architectural salvage from your previous structure that existed on the lot. A white roof was included to lessen cooling related energy use as well as to mitigate the urban heat island effect.
There are many other green details too, like hybrid car parking spaces, a bike rack, and a site chosen to some extent for it’s close proximity to public transport. While other companies such as Wal-Mart and Target make token gestures towards the green movement Walgreens really seems to obtain it. As there is still room for more improvement, the significant steps they may have delivered to “going green” far surpass the standard dog and pony show that passes for environmentalism these days in numerous companies.
At some time the question was seriously posed- “Just how can we make ourselves better and sustainable?” And someone took the time to discover some awnsers. Yet here we find the question that every modern companies will be faced with as energy prices soar and also the public grows more aware of their very own effect on the planet. Whether it’s the item they produce, the service they provide, or perhaps the products which they offer companies large and small cannot escape the alterations that are occurring within our environment. People who don’t reply to these changes will end up like Walgreens competitors like Eckerd; just struggling to keep up with the pack.
A History of Steady Progress – “Walgreens is making great progress on our environmental initiatives in shops chain-wide. Were cutting our electricity and water usage, recycling tons of cardboard and shrink rgxtwu each year and upgrading equipment for max efficiency” Said Walgreens Market Vice President Matt Sesto
Walgreens has never been a classy/flashy company. Quite the contrary, they may be children run All-American company having a long background of steady progress. Oftentimes they are among the initial to implement innovative strategies such as the change to bar-code scanning technology, and also the expansion into film development within the 1970’s. Additionally they were the main thing on adapting a far more convenient, customer friendly format in a time when drugstores were rather limited in scope. Through all these changes but they have always kept true to their identity as, “Americas corner drugstore”.
When a business like Walgreens outlines a wide ranging environmentally friendly strategy it means something when it comes to their future intentions. As mentioned by Jim Collins (Author of ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’) within an article titled Best Beats First; “they (Walgreens) might be slow- after a crawl, walk, run, trajectory, however when they run, they will likely run right over companies that believe being first is perhaps all that matters.” Then when Walgreens tells me they intend to build much more new green locations, as well as do additional eco-friendly modifications for their 6,857 existing locations- I think them. This store alone is saving enough energy to power 19 homes per year- imagine what the combined effect will be!