Saint-Gobain receives LEED recognitions
The company used its own products to retrofit headquarters building in environmentally sensitive manner
EAST WHITELAND » For those who like to eavesdrop on coworkers’ conversations, SaintGobain is probably not the place to work.
The building, which officially received two LEED Platinum certifications last week, is designed to be quiet. So quiet that it’s impossible to make out a conversation happening only feet away, noted Tamara Mueller, manager of change and communications.
“A phone conversation doesn’t travel more than 15 feet,” Mueller noted during a tour of Saint Gobain’s North American headquarters on Moores Road after the building materials company received LEED Platinum certification – the highest level – for both the interior and exterior of the glass-facade building.
“This building is made up of a new generation of products. SaintGobain is a huge leader globally on this.” – Roger Platt, senior vice president of strategic planning for Green Business Certification Inc.
The influence of sound was addressed throughout the 277,000-square-foot building, which was renovated to the tune of about $80 million before employees at Saint Gobain and its CertainTeed subsidiary moved in 11 months ago.
Sound muffling panels and walls were put in throughout the building. While it is too early to tabulate the savings in heat and electricity from green products in the green building,
there has been a noticeable benefit in the call center where orders are taken.
“There’s been a 150 percent increase in productivity – of incoming calls being converted into lead opportunities,” Mueller said.
The headquarters features around 50 products from Saint Gobain and its subsidiaries. It officially achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest level of sustainability recognition, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Platinum certification. Representatives from that organization and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council were on hand Sept. 21 to
present plaques to the company noting the achievement.
“I’ve been here three times for a reason,” said Roger Platt, senior vice president of strategic planning for Green Business Certification Inc. “This building is made up of a new generation of products. SaintGobain is a huge leader globally on this.”
The company moved its North American headquarters from the Valley Forge area to Great Valley to put employees into “a next-generation workplace,” it said in a statement, adding that its building materials “improve air quality, moisture management, acoustics, energy efficiency, thermal management and ergonomics.”
The new building features an open-concept office space, 116 collaborative spaces, a cafeteria and smaller eating spaces, an on-site fitness center and 1.3 miles of walking trails.
SageGlass, which the company bills as the world’s smartest electrochromic glass, is installed on the western and southern elevations of the façade. The 17,000 square feet of SageGlass makes it one of the largest installations of electrochromic glass in the world. SageGlass can control sunlight to optimize daylight, maintain outdoor views and enhance comfort by preventing glare and solar heat, the company said.
In the interior of the headquarters, other SaintGobain products sanitize
the air and dampen sound.
Low-slope CoolStar Solar Reflective Roofing minimizes the building’s environmental impact, maximizes occupant comfort and provides the highest degree of weather protection possible, the company said.
Some of the reasons the building was recognized:
• Approximately 79 percent of construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfill disposal. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, construction and demolition waste makes up 17 percent of Pennsylvania’s entire municipal waste stream.
• Materials in the building were selected to contain high levels of recycled content. Post-consumer and industrial recycled content reduced the negative impact resulting from the extraction and processing of raw materials.
• Special consideration was given to selecting locally manufactured materials. Furniture workstations were manufactured in East Greenville, Pa., and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. By specifying locally manufactured materials, less energy was spent to bring the products to the site.
• The project is achieving significant water savings through the use of lowflow plumbing fixtures. The project is projected to use 40 percent less water than a conventional office building, saving 640,000 gallons of water per year.
• Interior finishes and furnishings installed in the building were specified to contain little or no VOCs.
• In an effort to significantly reduce the number of miles employees travel to and from the campus, the company is providing bicycle storage facilities, preferred parking for low-emission and fuel-efficient vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations and a free shuttle service to and from the Paoli Station.
The lobby of Saint Gobain includes specialized glass to reduce energy costs and sound-deadening wall coverings.
Tamara Mueller points out sound-deadening treatments to lobby wall coverings, above, and ceiling panels, below, at Saint Gobain.
Pictured is Saint Gobain’s North American headquarters near Malvern.
John Crowe, president and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corp., receives the LEED Platinum award from Roger Platt, senior vice president of strategic planning at Green Business Certification Inc.
A stream runs under the rear part of the building at SaintGobain on Moores Road.