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Saint-Gobain, YouthBuild Philadelphia Complete Two LEED-Certified Projects in Nicetown

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, in partnership with YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School announces the completed renovation of two side-by-side homes located at 2006 and 2008 W. Wingohocking St. in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia and that the homes are set to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum certification. Over three years, approximately 180 YouthBuild Philadelphia students and the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation transformed the once-dilapidated properties into models of affordable, sustainable urban living. Today distinguished guests, including Michael DiBerardinis, Managing Director for the City of Philadelphia, will recognize the students’ accomplishments during a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

The YouthBuild Philadelphia projects mark the fourth and fifth green home renovations to be completed under the national partnership between Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild USA in support of the nonprofit’s national green-building and job-training program. The program provides former out-of-school young adults with the opportunity to build sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy homes in their neighborhoods and gain green job skills and industry-recognized credentials while earning their high school diplomas or its equivalent.

“YouthBuild USA’s partnership with Saint-Gobain means students in Philadelphia get the opportunity to experience the LEED building and design process,” said Simran Sidhu, Executive Director of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. “They walk away from this invaluable experience with the tools they need to build a brighter future for themselves and the community.”

The Saint-Gobain family of companies, led by CertainTeed Corporation, the company’s largest building materials subsidiary, provided approximately $42,000 in building products to achieve the projects’ energy efficiency, sustainability and affordability goals. In addition, employees from Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed’s North American Headquarters, located in Malvern, Pa., spent nearly 975 hours ensuring the homes’ timely completion and LEED certification. CertainTeed’s industry-leading building scientists played an especially valuable role as they advised the students and other project partners on the use of energy-efficient product technology and passive strategies to build a sustainable, affordable home.

“Nearly six years ago, we partnered with YouthBuild because we saw a means to give back by helping communities renovate energy-efficient, comfortable, healthy, economical and durable homes,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations. “We knew the partnership was about knowledge transfer but never expected the knowledge transfer would go both ways. The students have taught us invaluable lessons about hard work and tenacity and have fundamentally altered our company for the better.”

Along with providing green job skills, training and education, this partnership helps to fill the need for affordable and energy-efficient housing in Philadelphia. “This renovation serves as an example of what the Philadelphia community can accomplish when it works together. We’re proud of the fact that Philadelphia is one of the four cities in North America where the Saint-Gobain-YouthBuild partnership is providing access to affordable, healthy, sustainable homes and opportunities for young people to learn skills that will allow them to obtain jobs with livable wages,” said Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney.

The Nicetown Community Development Corporation will sell the properties to families of low-to moderate-income who are first-time home buyers in accordance with guidelines and requirements of the Office of Housing & Community Development and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority.

Products selected to help YouthBuild Philadelphia achieve its energy-efficiency, sustainability, indoor environmental quality, and affordability goals include:

  • A Hybrid Insulation System consisting of CertaSpray® Closed Cell Foam and OPTIMA® Blow-in Insulation System and MemBrain™ Continuous Air Barrier & Smart Vapor Retarder from CertainTeed that:
    • Creates a foam insulation that provides an effective seal on the backside of the home’s sheathing, while the fiberglass insulation fills in 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.
  • A variety of drywall solutions from CertainTeed:
    • AirRenew® Indoor Air Quality Drywall 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.
    • Silent FX® Noise-Reducing Gypsum Board is specifically designed for systems requiring high STC ratings where acoustic management is needed.
    • Diamondback® GlasRoc® Tile Backer 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 percent lighter than cement backerboard and is GREENGUARD Gold Certified.
    • AquaBead® Corner Reinforcement is a high-performance corner bead made of a high-strength polymer core that is forgiving to the flaws and variations of edge cuts and surpasses the impact resistance of most metal beads that easily dent and have to be pulled back off.
  • Roofing solutions from CertainTeed:
    • FlintBoard® ISO and Flintlastic® GTA CoolStar® Low-Slope Roofing that deliver cool-roof, energy-saving, reflective roof-surface technology.
  • Other products from CertainTeed that contributed to the home’s sustainability and aesthetics include:
    • CertaWrap™ Weather Resistant Barrier, which adds a layer of protection against air and moisture damage before the siding goes on.
    • Restoration Classic™ Vinyl Siding, which is designed for accurate and secure installation and provides the premium features that make it a great choice for both remodeling and new construction.

The Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation’s partnership with YouthBuild USA also supports green home renovation projects in three other communities where Saint-Gobain has business concentrations, including: Canton, Ohio; Worcester, Mass.; and Schenectady, N.Y. In June 2015, to coincide with Saint-Gobain’s 350th anniversary, the company announced an extension of its national partnership with YouthBuild USA bringing its total financial commitment to $1.3 million over the course of seven years (2010-17).

For more information about Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation’s partnership with YouthBuild USA, please visit

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