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BCBS Sets New Standards for Green Office Buildings

BCBSgreenHQThe new office tower headquarters for Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) in Rhode Island was designed to meet national goals for efficiency and sustainability, while encouraging good health and morale for its workforce, reports Providence Journal.

Blue Cross officials told the Providence Journal that their building promotes a healthy economy and a healthy environment and that it will save $25 million over 23 years.

The $90-million, ($125 million including furnishings and “soft” costs such as fees and engineering) 13-story green building is expected to recover the additional costs in a relatively short time by saving on electricity, paper, natural gas and water, reports the newspaper.

Green features include a green roof, special compost and recycling stations, and big tanks on the top floor to collect 6,000 gallons of storm water and supply it to the air conditioning system, which reduces runoff of pollution and the use of potable water, reports Providence Journal.

To save water, toilets have buttons that provide a choice in how much water is flushed, and all furnishings are recycled or recyclable. The building also has plenty of light from nine-foot windows with low sills for “daylight harvesting.”

James E. Purcell, Blue Cross president and chief executive officer told the Providence Journal the green features cost about $1 million extra but the company will recoup the money quickly. Energy savings alone will be more than $160,000 annually, reports the newspaper.

The Blue Cross building is the latest in a stream of “green” buildings completed recently in Rhode Island, reports Providence Journal, aimed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building standard.

Other examples cited in the article include the recent opening of a new $60-million headquarters for FM Global in Johnston, a $14-million library at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus, and a $59-million biotechnology center at URI’s Kingston campus.

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