Walgreens opens first net-zero store

Who would guess that Walgreens, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, would become an environmental leader?

In its first experiment in net-zero stores, Walgreen is combining several clean energy technologies, which it plans to extend to many of its 8,000 stores.

The first net-zero store, in Evanston, Ill., will get renewable energy from solar, wind and geothermal, along with extremely efficient refrigerators, LED lights and green building materials.

"We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology," said Thomas Connolly, vice president of facilities development for Walgreen, in a statement. "We are investing in developing a net-zero store so we can learn the best way to bring these features to our other stores. Because we operate 8,000 stores, we believe our pursuit of green technology can have a significant positive impact on the nation's environment."

If you look closely at an illustration of a store on Lake Michigan, you'll see the location will be giving it plenty of wind. You can see the vertical turbine in front of its name.

Next page: Operating efficiencies are in the plan