HARTFORD, Conn. — Building on its demonstrated commitment to sustainability, Aetna (NYSE:AET) has earned the prestigious Leadership in Environmental Design (LEED®) Silver Certification for the nearly two-year-long renovation of the Atrium building on its Hartford campus. The building is adjacent to the eastern side of Aetna’s original headquarters on Farmington Avenue.
Bestowed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the prestigious LEED award recognizes that Aetna has met aggressive sustainability goals for the Atrium project. The expansive top-to-bottom renovation of the 40-year-old structure included environmentally friendly upgrades that deliver on a comprehensive set of objectives ranging from improved indoor air quality to reduced energy use.
“LEED certification represents validation from an independent, third party that we are reducing our carbon footprint,” said Michael Marshall, head of Asset Management, Real Estate Services. “The Atrium building project was an enormous undertaking. We modernized a 500,000-square-foot structure and at the same time made sure it meets stringent sustainability standards. It demonstrates our commitment to being a socially and environmentally responsible company.”
Although work on the Atrium building was largely completed in 2010, LEED certification was several years in the making. The certification process included monitoring of the building’s performance over a period of time to ensure the intended outcomes were being achieved.
The scope of measurement and documentation covered the following components.
- The site: Aetna employed a “green” maintenance program for lawns and plantings, and implemented reduced irrigation practices.
- Water conservation: Bathrooms were designed with low-flow sensor faucets and dual flush water closets. Water use is an estimated 35 percent lower than with standard fixtures.
- Energy reduction: The entire lighting system was re-lamped to reduce total wattage, saving Aetna an estimated $189,000 annually; more than 1,000 solar panels were installed providing more than 6 percent of the daily electrical energy required; and certified “Green-E” energy is being purchased for more than 15 percent of the building load for at least five years.
- Materials: Recycled content or rapid renewable materials were used for at least 10 percent of new building components; 50 percent of construction waste was diverted into recycling programs.
- Indoor air: The ventilation system was designed to increase the use of outside air; high efficiency filters are used in ductwork and a certified green cleaning service has been employed to reduce the environmental impact of cleaning solvents.
- Design innovation: Roof skylights were designed to bring daylight into the B-level office area, and all enclosed offices maximize daylight coverage.
- New furniture: All workspace furniture is LEED certified. Work station tables and surfaces use up to 70 percent recycled materials.
This is the second time Aetna has earned LEED recognition. Several years ago Aetna was awarded LEED Silver Certification for the construction of a new customer center within the 80-year-old original headquarters building designed by James Gamble Rogers.
The LEED recognitions add to Aetna’s long history of initiatives designed to reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Aetna has recycled fluorescent light bulbs since 1994, long before it was required, and has recycled paper, cardboard, glass and plastic bottles for many years. Aetna continues to raise the bar for environmentally conscious companies. Recent accomplishments include the following.
- Aetna’s building #2 in Blue Bell, Pa, was recently recognized with a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Energy Star designation. To earn the Energy Star a building must demonstrate energy efficiency based on EPA guidelines.
- Aetna in March installed electric vehicle charging stations on the Hartford and Blue Bell campuses to help encourage employees to drive electric/hybrid cars to work and further reduce the company’s carbon footprint.
- Aetna continues to reduce its carbon footprint with a telework program that saved an estimated 65 million miles of driving in 2011, saving more than 2 million gallons of gas and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 23,000 metric tons.
- Through the use of Energy Star devices, automatic shut-off switches and innovative approaches, Aetna last year noted a reduction in energy use for the first time at all of its major Aetna’s owned facilities in the previous year.
- Aetna is a participant in the Business Roundtable’s “Climate Resolve” initiative and was a charter member in the EPA’s WasteWise program.
- Aetna in 2009 was honored with a Connecticut Climate Change Leadership Award for innovative efforts to address global climate change.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.4 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, medical management capabilities, health care management services for Medicaid plans and health information exchange technology services. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.