I'm excited about this Walgreens store in the Chicago area pursuing LEED Certification. Apparently it's their second Green store in the country and more are planned in the pipeline. It's awaiting certification at some advanced level which is likely to happen in 4-6 months. I know its mass market retail but if corporations like this don't take sustainability issues seriouusly how will we get the massive change to happen we all need, to achieve the kind of goals organizations like www.350.org or www.2030.0rg aspire to?
It's such a wonderfully odd thing to consider doing business at a green Walgreen's where it is addressing numerous energy efficiency, sustainable sites, materials, water resources and indoor environmental quality issues in the design. I hope that the feedback and performance for the store is positive over the long haul and Walgreen's learns from this one, it's first in a colder climate, and builds more across the nation.
Obviously the stores are only part of the problem. It's the environments they're located in around the country which also needs alot of help. I'm talking about the suburban strip centers, mall parking lots and corner stores along major aterials where these retailers are often located. Sure, it's a complex auto based lifestyle puzzle but we've got to start tipping the scale in the other direction. Perhaps by companies like Walgreens initiating leadership such as this one store at a time, other retailers will catch on and postive effects will collectively be felt in time.
As someone who cares about high design and equitable design I also care about democratizing the green architecture movement and helping bring it into the mainstream. Doing so gives me hope for my children and the generations to follow.