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Walgreens and the Incentives of EE

image credit: ID 147366973 © Bunlue Nantaprom |

The massive pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliances is set to make big energy efficiency moves. According to their 2019 Corporate Responsibilty Report, they’re going to pursue:

--Investments in fiscal 2019 included $146 million in HVAC units and LED interior lighting retrofits across nearly 2,000 stores, with energy-saving per store of 45% to 50%.

--Recognition by the Department of Energy Advanced Roof Top Unit (RTU) Campaign for achieving the greatest number of high-efficiency RTU installations and advanced RTU control retrofits for a large portfolio owner. The company installed more than 4,300 RTUs with high-efficiency units and controls, for an annual energy savings of 39M+ kWh;

- Ongoing installation of wireless lighting control systems in its stores, with the systems providing an additional 25% reduction in energy use; and

- Ongoing replacement of refrigeration equipment with installations that use lower GWP refrigerants. Across Walgreens stores, all new immediate-consumption refrigerators, which are smaller beverage units near check-out counters, use natural refrigerants. (The commercial market in the U.S. presents challenges in regard to conversion of walk-in refrigerated cases to ultra-low GWP refrigerants.)

- In their report, these initiatives are all framed as part of a broader mission to cut emissions, throwing themselves into the fight against climate change. Who knows, maybe the corporation really does care about the polar bears. However, it seems more likely that the true reason for their EE push would have to do with cutting costs. Afterall most corporations (not to be confused with the people that comprise them), care about one thing and one thing only: the bottom line. 

 I’m not in anyway advocating for a public shaming of Walgreens. On the contrary, I’m just using them and their new publicity campaign to make a point: When it comes to EE, the incentives just make too much sense. What is good for your pocket is also good for mother earth. If only the rest of the world’s propositions were so easy. 


Henry Craver's picture

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