Green-building elements that BCBSRI is hoping will win theSilver designation, include insulated glass curtain walls that willallow abundant daylight into the offices and enable sensors to dimor turn off perimeter lighting. Architect Symmes Maini & McKeeAssociates of Boston is also incorporating two vegetated roofs toreduce heat gain and manage storm water runoff that will then helpcool equipment in the building's data center, while the latesttechnology is being used for heating, cooling and waterconservation in the mechanical systems selected. In addition,materials for construction, furniture and finishes are coming fromregional sources and meet other criteria as environmentallysensitive.

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BCBSRI officials also cite an internal green education programthat will accentuate the group's focus on health and wellness.Besides a fitness center, the building will feature an operableglass wall allowing the dining space to be opened up to an adjacentpark in warm weather, and preferred parking will be available foremployees with hybrid cars. Officials also note that the buildingwill be close to a commuter rail station, and bike racks will beavailable to encourage a healthy alternative to driving. Accordingto BCBSRI VP Tom Bovis, "there has been extraordinarily positiveresponse from our employees" over the design and location of theheadquarters, which is a result of four years of planning betweenthe company and SMMA's design team. The contractor is DimeoConstruction.

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Now the largest construction project in Rhode Island, the BCBSRIheadquarters is being developed at Waterplace Park in the city'semerging Capital Center district. The parcel at Exchange Place andFinance Way is adjacent to two new residential towers and atop anunderground garage and retail shops being built by IntercontinentalReal Estate Corp. of Boston. SMMA architect Mark Spaulding says hebelieves the headquarters will emerge as "a welcome landmark on theskyline of Downtown Providence," and explains it is designed tomaximize view corridors between buildings at Waterplace Park. Also,Spaulding says, "the curved glass facades of the tower will createa changeable image, depending on reflections and daylightconditions."

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