Neal  Shankman,  a Forest Avenue resident, was the first customer Thursday to enter Evanston’s new Walgreens store on Chicago Avenue, lauded as the most environmentally-conscious retail establishment in the country.

Shankman, the store’s first customer 

Conceived by Walgreens executives about three years ago as an experimental model for future stores in the 8,000-unit chain, the Evanston location was chosen for its proximity to the company’s Deerfield headquarters and because of Evanston’s reputation as a leader in urban sustainability.

Even though the store is expected to consume about 200,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, its combination of 800 solar panels and two wind turbines, aided by LED lighting and geothermal technology, is expected to generate about 220,000 kwh per year.

One of the wind turbines, beside the Chicago Avenue entrance to the parking lot 

That would make it a “net zero” facility that will be the envy of the world, according to company officials and community leaders who participated in Thursday’s grand opening.

The ribbon-cutting 

Among the dignitaries on hand to watch Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl cut the ceremonial ribbon, were aldermen Melissa Wynne (3rd), Don Wilson (4th), and Jane Grover (7th), State Rep. Robyn Gabel, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.

In remarks to the crowd of about 100 persons, Mayor Tisdahl congratulated Walgreens “for being brilliant enough to build it in Evanston.”

Mayor Tisdahl 

Jamie Meyers, the company’s manager of sustainability, described the facility as “one of the most unique retail buildings in America.”

Exterior of the store, located at Chicago Avenue and Keeney Street

The store is seeking platinum certification through the U.S. Green Building Council LEED program, Net Zero Certification through the Living Building Challenge, and has received GreenChill platinum certification through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

GreenChill’s Store Certification Program was designed for supermarkets, but this is the first time a GreenChill certification has been awarded to a small-format store, such as a convenience store or pharmacy, according to a company news release.

The Evanston location also showcases the new Walgreens “Well Experience” store format with features that include an enhanced, state-of-the-art pharmacy designed to encourage greater interaction between pharmacists and patients.

The store will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The pharmacy will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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