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Highmark Facilities Reduced Energy Consumption by 5.6 Percent in 2008

Pittsburgh's Fifth Avenue Place and Penn Avenue Place buildings, as well as Camp Hill's Center Street facility, to conserve additional energy by participating in Earth Hour on March 28

PITTSBURGH, March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Highmark Inc. announced today that its energy conservation efforts in 2008, such as the installation of energy-efficient lighting and the reduction of lighting and heating and air conditioning usage, resulted in an average 5.6 percent decrease in energy consumption for the company and a savings of some $329,000 in energy costs.

"Making small changes to things like our lighting, cleaning hours and heating and air conditioning systems have resulted in significant savings of energy and dollars," said Phyllis Barber, Highmark's sustainability coordinator. "At Highmark, we're committed to being an environmental leader because we know that creating a healthier environment also helps to create healthier communities and healthier people. Reducing the energy consumption at our facilities is just one way that we can have a greater hand in a healthier environment."

At its Pittsburgh Fifth Avenue Place and Penn Avenue Place offices, Highmark decreased energy consumption by 5.4 percent from 2007 to 2008, resulting in a cost decrease of $156,000. These savings are in part due to changes in cleaning hours and security guard inspections to reduce lighting use after hours, installation of energy-efficient lighting in Penn Avenue Place, and installation of energy-saving devices on all beverage vending machines.

Energy consumption at its Center Street campus in Camp Hill, Pa. decreased by 6.6 percent from 2007 to 2008 resulting in a cost decrease of $120,600 for the company. During this time, Highmark installed higher efficiency HVAC equipment, control systems and lighting in newly renovated sections, reduced exterior lighting in outdoor areas and reduced HVAC equipment usage during operating hours.

At its Silver LEED certified Data Center facility near Hershey, Pa., energy consumption decreased by 4.7 percent, resulting in a cost decrease of $52,000 from 2007 to 2008. These savings are in part because of a reduction of lighting in unoccupied areas, reduction of HVAC equipment operating hours, and modifications to temperature and humidity controls.

To conserve additional energy and show its commitment to the environment, Highmark's Fifth Avenue Place, Penn Avenue Place and Center Street buildings will go dark for Earth Hour from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 28.

The Pittsburgh facilities operate some 12,000 lights, which will be turned off for the hour. The prominent Highmark sign on the top of Fifth Avenue Place and the blue spire will also be turned off. Emergency lighting and lighting in occupied areas will be left on for the safety of employees, as well as retail patrons of Fifth Avenue Place. The Camp Hill facility has some 12,300 lights. The facility will also turn off its Highmark sign at the front entrance to the campus. Emergency lighting and lighting in occupied areas will also be left on for the safety of employees.

Highmark's commitment to environmental leadership includes a variety of sustainable, eco-friendly, green business projects that are aimed at creating a healthier environment and healthier people. These include a 22,000-square-foot green roof with some 25,000 plants on its Fifth Avenue Place building in downtown Pittsburgh, paper and utilities conservation initiatives and the use of certified green seal cleaning supplies in Highmark's facilities.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008, the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome's Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness. In 2009, Earth Hour has a goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights.

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the state's leading health insurers and with nearly 70 years of community involvement, Pittsburgh-based Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves 3.1 million members. The company's mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employs more than 5,000 people in the region and provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health. Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit

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Phyllis Barber

SOURCE Highmark Inc.
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