The award, presented at the ASHRAE 2016 Winter Conference in Orlando, recognises outstanding achievements by members who have successfully applied innovative building design and technological concepts, incorporating ASHRAE standards for effective energy management.

Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in the U.S., wanted to create a scalable retail building design that would serve as a showcase for innovative, sustainable and high-performance design to sustainability, architecture, engineering and retail communities.

The store, opened on 21 November 2013, uses CO2 refrigeration for heating and cooling and integrates a series of other energy-saving or green technologies, including:

  • Geo-exchange energy obtained by drilling 550 feet into the ground below the store;
  • 840 roof-mounted solar panels;
  • Two 35-foot-tall wind turbines;
  • LED lighting and daylight harvesting, and;
  • Energy-efficient building materials.

“The system has run very reliably for the first two years, and has met or exceeded our performance expectations. Being recognized for our innovation is a true honor. Innovation always comes with risk, and being acknowledged by the design community for successes is almost as important as learning from our mistakes,” Jason Robbins, manager of HVAC/R programmes at Walgreens, told  

CO2 refrigeration integral to net-zero energy project

Walgreens’ CO2 heat pump and refrigeration designs are based around a triple temperature range CO2 system made by Swedish company Green and Cool in partnership with the Carter Group. Such systems enable the use of R744 with three different evaporation levels. Rejection heat from the refrigeration equipment is used to heat the Evanston store. With the installation of the CO2 transcritical system, the company expects to save 60% energy compared to traditional technology.

“The Walgreens project gave the Carter Group along with partners Green & Cool a real opportunity to demonstrate the potential of our systems in what was and still is an emerging market for natural refrigerants. It remains to date one of the most advanced systems we have supplied anywhere in the world. We are proud to be associated with such a prestigious scheme,” Paul Bevington, business development manager of the Carter Group, told

Walgreens also wanted to share the results from the design, construction and ongoing operation of the store with the public, design community and even competitors. The store is designed to facilitate tours, including hosting executives and designers from its retail competition.

To relive our live coverage of AHR Expo 2016 on Storify, please click here.

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