CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced today that its office building at 401 MLK Blvd, the Gateway Building, has been certified LEED® Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the recognized standard for the classification of environmentally friendly buildings.

Buildings are evaluated in five areas of environmental and human health to achieve LEED certification. Those include: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“BlueCross is putting together a solid portfolio of green accomplishments, and adding the Gateway Building to that list is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” said Dan Jacobson, vice president of properties and corporate services for BlueCross. “With Gateway we took a building over 40 years old and transformed it into a model of 21st century efficiency, including adding solar panels, storm water filters and increased natural lighting.”

The Gateway Building was originally built in 1965 and housed a Zayre’s department store, as well as WTVC, channel 9, and a Shoney’s restaurant. BlueCross moved offices into the building in 1993. It is the second largest LEED Gold certified building in Chattanooga.

The Gateway renovations include:

• A newly installed 198.24 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array, producing the equivalent of 40 percent of the building’s power.

• Improved air quality thanks to low-emission interior adhesives, sealants, carpets and paint.

• New heating and air units that provide better comfort and control.

• Increased opportunity for natural light in work areas, and the use of induction lighting, manufactured locally, in the parking lots.

• State-of-the-art water control, including natural storm water filters that remove up to 100 percent of pollutants from runoff that would otherwise end up in the Tennessee River.

• Over 160 new trees and other landscaping improvements.

During the renovation 96 percent of the existing walls, floors and roof were re-used. Of the 782 tons of construction debris that was generated, nearly 500 tons were recycled.

Major partners responsible for the Gateway renovation include Chattanooga-based companies Artech, AEED, and The Strauss Company, and Atlanta-based Jones Lang LaSalle, as well as 25 subcontractors, designers and installers mostly from the Chattanooga region.

Footnote: The solar panel project was made possible in part by a solar installation grant from The Tennessee Solar Institute. The Tennessee Solar Institute is part of the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, a comprehensive solar energy and economic development program that was established using $62.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding received by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Energy under Award Number DE-EE0000160. Funding Source: CDFA 81.041

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at