Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) recently received top honors from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for the design of its corporate headquarters at 101 Huntington Ave., making it the largest project in New England and 12th largest in the nation by square footage to be LEED® Platinum certified out of nearly 3,300 projects. Blue Cross received the LEED Platinum certification using LEED CIv2009 – Commercial Interiors criteria.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, rating system, developed by the USGBC, is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.
In addition to designing office space to earn a LEED Platinum certification, Blue Cross went further to create a building that reflected its commitment to health and wellness. The company included features like a Wellness Center with yoga and meditation classes, flame retardant free furniture, height-adjustable desks for every associate, nutritious and sustainable food options and compostable cafeteria wares, and open internal stairways.
City of Boston Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Austin Blackmon (left) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts SVP of Corporate Communications & Citizenship Jay McQuaide (right) with the LEED Platinum certification Blue Cross received for its Boston headquarters. (Image: Blue Cross)
"We at Blue Cross know that supporting associate well-being in the workplace includes providing a healthy built environment and encouraging healthy individual behaviors. Our move to 101 Huntington allowed us to create a completely new office space focusing on sustainability, health and wellness, collaboration, and innovation," said Kyle Cahill, Director of Sustainability and Environmental Health.
Blue Cross achieved the LEED Platinum rating because of many environmentally progressive features, such as:
Occupancy sensors and 100% LED lighting throughout the space.
Carpeting made from 100% renewable material.
96% of seated spaces with access to daylight.
91% of construction waste diverted from landfill.
Ergonomic workstations with height-adjustable desks.
City of Boston Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space Austin Blackmon praised Blue Cross for their recent LEED honors. The city ranks fifth among 1,324 metropolitan areas in the country for the most LEED-certified square footage. In addition, Massachusetts ranks #1 in the nation for LEED-certified square footage per capita.
"Boston is at the forefront of green building and design, and Blue Cross' LEED Platinum certification is a great example of our city's leadership in this important area," Blackmon said.
"Our Platinum certification puts us in very special company," said Blue Cross SVP of Financial Services Tony Centrella. "We are extremely proud that our headquarters is one of only a dozen buildings in the country to achieve this honor at this scale. We are especially proud that, together with our design and construction partners, we were able to transform an existing building in the heart of downtown Boston into a model of environmentally sustainable design."
Blue Cross is the largest health plan in the Commonwealth, and with this latest certification, three of its largest offices are LEED certified—101 Huntington in Boston (Platinum), 25 Technology Place in Hingham (Silver), and One Enterprise Drive in Quincy (Certified).