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Tufts Health Plan Watertown Campus Earns ENERGY STAR Label

Release Date: 08/16/2006
Contact Information: Nancy Grantham, (617) 918-1101

Tufts Health Plan was recognized today by the New England Regional office of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the first health care provider in Massachusetts to earn the ENERGY STAR label for superior energy performance at its 497,000 square foot facility in Watertown.

“Tufts Health Plan is showing that all types of businesses and organizations can benefit from greater energy efficiency in their facilities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Robert W. Varney. “We applaud Tufts Health Plan’s leadership and invite others in New England’s world class health care industry to join in the commitment to superior energy performance, good management and leading the way with a new generation of environmentally-preferable buildings. Together, we are showing that efficient buildings make great sense both for our environment and the bottom line.”

Originally constructed in 1931, the Tufts Health Plan building – formerly a manufacturing plant for Western Electric’s New England service center– shows how even older buildings can achieve superior energy performance with sensible upgrades and good management. This large and complex facility – at nearly a half million square feet of space and housing almost 1,300 employees– scored an impressive 78 out of 100 on ENERGY STAR’s national performance rating system.

Tufts Health Plan achieved these results by incorporating energy efficient technologies into its building renovation in 1997, including installing 600 tinted thermo-pane windows and additional insulation on a refaced double brick exterior wall structure. The company further improved energy performance after it moved into the building by installing high efficiency heating ventilation and cooling (HVAC) equipment and lighting systems, both of which use a centralized computerized control system to align operating schedules with employee work schedules. By re-using an existing building in a community well served by public transit networks, Tufts Health Plan avoided significant environmental impacts associated with new construction.

“We at Tufts Health Plan are committed to being good stewards of our resources,” said James Roosevelt Jr., president and chief executive officer of Tufts Health Plan. “Earning this award is the result of all of our employees participating in EPA’s program to reduce energy consumption, which gives us one more opportunity to save money and contribute to the community.”

Compared to similar buildings with average energy performance, EPA calculates that the Tufts Health Plan building uses almost one-third less energy, saving more than $577,000 annually in energy expenses and generating far less pollution than average buildings. Commercial buildings account for more than 17 percent of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. EPA estimates that the Tufts Health Plan building reduced by more than six million pounds the amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the past year – the equivalent of taking more than 600 cars off the road for one year and providing enough electricity to power more than 370 homes for a year.

Since 2003, when Tufts Health Plan assumed management of the building, the company has further reduced energy consumption by 226,800-kilowatt hours, an approximately 11 percent decrease, by targeting electricity usage and implementing such measures as installing occupancy sensors throughout the building, joining the Million Monitor Drive and educating employees on energy-saving techniques. These actions have resulted in savings of approximately $50,000 a year at today’s rates.

ENERGY STAR is a government-backed program helping businesses and consumers protect the environment through superior energy efficiency. By partnering with the EPA through ENERGY STAR, more than 7,000 private and public sector organizations, in 2004 alone, saved enough energy to power 24 million homes and avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 20 million cars – all while saving $10 billion.

Buildings earn the ENERGY STAR based on EPA’s energy performance rating system. These buildings must score a 75 or better (on a scale from 1-100) based on their actual energy use, and also meet industry standards for comfort and indoor air quality. The average score for ENERGY STAR labeled buildings in 2005 is 86. Companies must undergo performance ratings each year in order to retain ENERGY STAR status.

For more information and a complete list of buildings and their locations, please visit the Energy Star Business Improvement site (www.energystar.gov/buildings).

Tufts Health Plan is a Waltham, Mass., based health plan nationally recognized for its commitment to providing innovative, high-quality health care coverage.