Saint-Gobain re­ceives LEED recog­ni­tions

The com­pany used its own prod­ucts to retro­fit head­quar­ters build­ing in en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive man­ner

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian McCul­lough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

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.

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