Columbus, Ohio-based Aetna Building Maintenance has recently invested in green projects near their headquarters on the city's south side.

The projects include a community garden near and a solar sytem installation and roof replacement on its office building. The solar panel system is expected to cut Aetna's energy costs by about 50 percent, according to a company release. Additional green initiatives included installing Energy Star-rated HVAC units and reusing concrete from demolition and stone from the roof ballasts.

"About 23,000 square feet of white reflective roof and improved insulation were installed on Aetna Building Maintenance’s office building," says the release. "Then 221 solar panels, manufactured by Oregon-based SolarWorld, were installed."

The company committed $10,000 in funding to the community garden project. Materials and in-kind contributions and services were provided by several donors: students from the Ohio State University’s landscape architecture program, Earthform Operations, Someday Farms LCC, Lowe’s, Oberfields LCC, Jones Topsoil, John Deere, Keep Columbus Beautiful and Franklin Park Conservatory.

The new community garden features 20 raised planter beds in three sizes, available first come, first served to neighborhood residents and local businesses interested in sustainability and growing their own food. A composting bin was built to help create fertilizer for the garden.

Rainwater harvested to irrigate the gardens will be collected in rain barrels from the roof.

Aetna Building Maintenance has made other site improvements such as the addition of a gazebo, picnic tables and landscaping to create inviting outdoor space for neighbors and employees.

“The community garden and solar system projects reflect our company’s tradition of supporting sustainable solutions along with service to our South Side neighborhood and local organizations,” says Paul Greenland, Aetna chief executive officer. “We embrace green solutions that are environmentally and economically sustainable to benefit our community.”