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Blues Plans Incorporate Green Buildings & Policies

building.jpgBlue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and Highmark have plans to employ more environmentally friendly building practices and to achieve LEED certification, AIS Health.com reports.

The Massachusetts Blues plan has two LEED-certified buildings. The first LEED certification was achieved in 2006 by refurbishing a pre-existing structure. The second was achieved in 2007, with its South Shore facility achieving LEED Silver Certification. Both sites have seen a 25 percent reduction in electricity when compared with a standard building. The South Shore building reduced interior water consumption by 20 percent with irrigation needs estimated to be 50 percent lower than expected.

Construction on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina began in April. The new building is expected to use 65 percent less energy and reduce water consumption by half when compared with a standard building.

In May, Highmark unveiled plans to install a 22,000-square-foot green roof on one of its Pittsburgh facilities. The company’s 86,000-square-foot data center was completed in 2005 and achieved LEED Silver status in 2006. The new data center is three times the size of its previous data center but uses the same amount of electricity on a monthly basis, roughly $45,000, according to Phyllis Barber, Highmark’s sustainability coordinator. Earlier this year, Computerworld tapped Highmark as the top green IT user company.

Others in the health care industry, such as hospitals and executives, are also discovering the economic and environmental benefits of greening their operations.

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