KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee recently received LEED Gold certification for its Knoxville campus.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was established by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

To achieve Gold certification, the second highest LEED certification, the building had to undergo several transformations.

Prior to BlueCross, the building housed the Blue Diamond Coal Company. BlueCross refinished the basement area so that coal dust would no longer be an issue and also installed new equipment to make the heating and air system more energy-efficient. These were two of several measures taken to transform the building.

The newly renovated building is expected to yield great results as it will cut down water usage by 40 percent and energy bills by 24 percent.

“This demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices,” said Karen Ward, BlueCross senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “And our employees help us as well through the choices they make every day, from recycling to carpooling.”

This is BlueCross’s seventh LEED Gold-certified building, and according to Dan Jacobson, BlueCross vice president of properties and corporate services, it is a rare achievement for an organization to have more than one certified building.

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 www.bcbst.com.