Greenland and the Aetna team are changing the building service industry from the inside out. On a tour of Aetna’s headquarters, Greenland walks his visitor through a sizable warehouse full of janitorial supplies, cleaning chemicals and equipment. He also showed off his newest addition: an ionized water machine.

Though the company has used reactive water for some time, the new machine allows the company to expand its chemical-free cleaning services, just one element of its Sustainable Green Cleaning Program. The program also includes using green chemicals, tools, processes, training, service and support to improve the health of buildings and its occupants, as well as teaches customers how to reduce energy costs. 

Aetna has been a long-time provider of green cleaning and “cleaning for health” services. In fact, Aetna’s tagline is: “Think Green, Think Aetna.” But it isn’t just the company’s green cleaning program that has made Aetna an environmental steward. It goes beyond a generic cleaning program and truly practices what it preaches.

This year, Aetna sponsored a yearlong lecture series at Marshall University that addressed a range of green and energy efficiency topics, including commercial energy audits, waste reduction efforts, green cleaning and the benefits of eating local. The events were open to the public and featured Aetna’s leadership team, as well as other environmental leaders.

Perhaps the most visible of their efforts can be seen outside. When the company was facing major building repairs one year ago, Greenland opted to revamp the entire facility with an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly upgrade. The company installed a “white roof” (which reflects the sun to help keep a building cool, thus decreasing energy costs) and an Energy-Star rated HVAC system. It also installed a solar paneling system.

According to Greenland, the panels produce up to 40 percent of the building’s energy on any given day.

The entire project cost nearly $300,000 though Greenland expects to see ROI in about three years with cost savings, and energy and tax credits. More importantly, the renovation showed customers how committed Aetna is to environmental sustainability and health — that they are not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

A large portion of the renovation included giving back to the community. Working with college students, Aetna created a community garden on their property, with several box plots planted with fruits, vegetables and flowers, as well as benches, a stone walkway and a gazebo built with reclaimed materials. The surrounding neighborhood, which is largely underserved, was invited to enjoy the fresh foods and garden together.
“We perfect how we do things here, before we do things in the field — and out to the customers,” Greenland says.

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