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Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Complete LEED Gold Gut-Rehab Home Renovation in Schenectady

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, in partnership with YouthBuild Schenectady announces the completed renovation of 843 Emmett Street in Schenectady, the non-profits’ first gut-rehab home in Schenectady, set to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification. More than 80 YouthBuild Schenectady students and the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation transformed the once-dilapidated property into a home that is both sustainable and affordable in 23 months, and today distinguished guests, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman Paul D. Tonko, will recognize the students’ accomplishment in a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

The YouthBuild Schenectady project is the first to be finished in Schenectady under the national partnership between the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation and YouthBuild USA in support of the non-profit’s national green building and job training program. The program provides out-of-school, out-of-work young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 with the opportunity to build energy-efficient, healthy, and affordable homes in their communities and gain green job skills while earning their GEDs or high school diplomas.

“Our partnership with YouthBuild affords Saint-Gobain and its family of companies an invaluable opportunity to transform the neighborhoods where we operate as well as the lives of students who will make up the future green building workforce,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations. “This partnership does not stem from a passion merely for green building, but rather for the city of Schenectady – from the students who transformed this home, to the family who now lives more efficiently and comfortably in it, and most importantly, the broader Schenectady community who can now see that sustainable homes can be affordable.”

Through the partnership, now in its fourth year, Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation has donated $140,000 to YouthBuild Schenectady in support of their program and this project. The Saint-Gobain family of companies, including its North American construction materials subsidiary, CertainTeed, provided nearly $16,000 in building products to the project. In addition, employees from Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed spent more than 300 hours of time providing building science and technical expertise to ensure LEED certification of the home as well as mentorship to the students. Saint-Gobain’s partnership made it possible for the students to complete YouthBuild Schenectady’s first home expected to achieve LEED Gold from the USGBC.

“The partnership between YouthBuild and Saint-Gobain is a first-of-its-kind,” said John Henley, president and chief executive officer of Northeast Parent & Child Society. “Without our partnership with Saint-Gobain, students would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience a LEED building design process.”

Beyond providing green job skills, this partnership begins to fill the need for affordable and energy-efficient housing in Schenectady. The project is one of the city’s most affordably built sustainable homes. The City of Schenectady is fortunate to have over a dozen LEED certified affordable homes through the HUD-funded “Options in Green Program” (each attained Platinum or Gold rating). YouthBuild Schenectady has worked with this program and used many best practices in constructing 843 Emmett Street – but this program model uses students and volunteers, which provides a very affordable way to build homes.

“The Saint-Gobain family of companies and its employees share our vision of giving young people the opportunity to transform their own lives while building affordable green housing in their communities,” said Dorothy Stoneman, CEO and Founder of YouthBuild USA.

Products selected to help YouthBuild Schenectady achieve its energy efficiency, sustainability, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and affordability goals include:

  • A Hybrid Insulation System from CertainTeed, consisting of CertaSpray® Closed Cell Foam, OPTIMA® Blow-in Insulation System, and MemBrain™ Smart Vapor Retarder & Air Barrier Film:
    • Foam insulation provides an effective seal on the backside of the home’s sheathing, while the fiberglass insulation fills the remainder of the cavity.
    • Delivers an R-value that is almost equivalent to a passive house at a significant cost savings compared to a foam-only approach.
    • Improves sound control and reduces energy consumption and moisture penetration for a healthy, comfortable home.
  • Three different types of gypsum from CertainTeed were used throughout the home, including:
    • AirRenew® Essential Indoor Air Quality Gypsum Board from CertainTeed actively removes formaldehyde from the air, protecting homeowners from harmful VOCs. It’s the only drywall that improves air quality by capturing and converting formaldehyde into a safe, inert compound.
    • Diamondback® GlasRoc® Tile Backer from CertainTeed is a moisture-and-mold resistant, paperless glass-mat gypsum tile backer ideal for moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. It’s up to 40% lighter than cement backerboard and is GREENGUARD Gold Certified.
    • ProRoc® Regular Gypsum Board from CertainTeed features a premium-quality, non-combustible gypsum core for use on interior walls and ceilings. It’s encased in a smooth face and back covering of 100% recycled paper.

Products from Saint-Gobain’s family of companies that contributed to the home’s aesthetics include:

  • Kingston Vinyl Railing from CertainTeed
  • EverNew® PT Decking with PermaTech™ from CertainTeed
  • Siding from CertainTeed
  • CertaWrap™ Weather Resistant Barrier from CertainTeed
    • Adds a layer of protection against air and moisture damage before the siding goes on
  • Interior and exterior doors from Saint-Gobain’s distribution company, Norandex

Products from Saint-Gobain’s family of companies that contributed to the building process include:

  • 3X High Performance Portable Beltsfrom Norton, which feature high performance zirconia for three times the life
  • 3X High Performance Hook & Sand Discsfrom Norton, which feature patented ceramic abrasives for ultimate performance
  • 3X High Performance Sheets from Norton, which feature heat treated aluminum oxide abrasive for three times the performance of conventional sheets
  • BlueFire Wheels from Norton, which feature high performance zirconia abrasives
  • Ergonomic Hand Sander Disc Kit from Norton, which quickly converts hook & loop discs into a hand sanding tool. The ergonomic shape fits the user’s finger grip for added comfort and reduced fatigue.
  • Wall Sanding Screen from Norton, which sands and smooth’s the drywall joints

The Emmett Street property is owned and maintained by Northeast Parent and Child Society and is being rented to a family that has fulfilled eligibility requirements.

“In just the first few months of living in the home, we realized the advantages of living in a healthy, energy efficient and air-tight home,” said Tonia Thomas, the homeowner. “Even during the especially frigid winter we had this year, we experienced dramatically lower energy bills and increased comfort due to fewer variations in temperature from room-to-room. It means a lot to me to know that my home is healthy and that my children are breathing clean air and are not being exposed to mold and pollutants.”

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