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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 much more correct 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 the American consumer, this time around for your greener. The shop in question was made from the ground up across the dual mission of efficiency and sustainability. Not just will it be the initial drug store inside the U.S. to fulfill the USGBCs stringent LEED design standards nevertheless the 24-hour store also sells a host of eco friendly products.

By exceeding LEED requirements and integrating eco-friendly product lines to their inventory they have got taken steps that cannot just be associated with the normal corporate “greenwashing” With this particular project and future plans for a lot of similar to it, what time does Walgreens close has made a serious persistence for sustainability. Listed here are just a few of those things they have included in this store on the architectural side;

-Take for instance the landscaping- They used all native plants which will require no watering whatsoever once they have adjusted to transplanting. Within San Diego, Ca that’s quite a problem as we are in the middle of a level two drought emergency. -They took great pains to reduce lighting energy waste through the use of 75% natural sunlight during daytime hours. It was achieved with the installation of solar tubes and skylights that shine down from the ceiling. This combined with LEDs in their signs and coolers reduces lighting related energy use by 50%

These are mitigating storm water pollution from the surrounding buildings by collecting and filtering water since 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 minimize cooling related energy use as well as to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

There are numerous other green details as well, like hybrid car parking spaces, a bicycle rack, along with a site chosen in part for it’s close proximity to public transit. While others such as Wal-Mart and Target have made token gestures for the green movement Walgreens really seems to have it. As there is still room for more improvement, the significant steps they may have come to “live green” far surpass the normal dog and pony reveal that passes for environmentalism these days in numerous companies.

Sooner or later the question was seriously posed- “How can we make ourselves better and sustainable?” And someone took the time to find some awnsers. Yet here we discover the question that all modern companies will be up against as energy prices soar and also the public becomes more aware of their own effect on the planet. Whether it’s the product they produce, the service they supply, or perhaps the items that they offer companies large and small cannot escape the modifications which can be occurring within our environment. People who don’t react to these changes will find yourself like Walgreens competitors like Eckerd; just struggling to take care of 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 a lot of cardboard and shrink rgxtwu each year and upgrading equipment for optimum efficiency” Said Walgreens Market Vice President Matt Sesto

Walgreens has never been a trendy/flashy company. Quite the contrary, these are children 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, and the expansion into film development inside the 1970’s. In addition 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 each one of these changes however they have always kept true with their identity as, “Americas corner drugstore”.

So when a business like Walgreens outlines a large ranging eco-friendly strategy it truly means something when it comes to their future intentions. As stated by Jim Collins (Author of ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’) in an article titled Best Beats First; “they (Walgreens) may be slow- after a crawl, walk, run, trajectory, however, when they run, they are going to run right over firms that believe being first is all that matters.” Then when Walgreens tells me they plan to build many more new green locations, as well as do additional environmentally friendly modifications to their 6,857 existing locations- I believe them. This store alone is saving enough energy to power 19 homes annually- imagine what the combined effect will likely be!