February 05, 2009 | Valley Forge, PA USA

CertainTeed Ceiling and Insulation Products Reach New Heights in Comcast Center

United States' Tallest Green Office Building

Towering over the Philadelphia skyline at an amazing 58 stories (975 feet), the city's new Comcast Center is a high-performance sustainable building, with an abundance of features that will conserve energy and reduce impact on the environment. Designed to receive LEED® certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, Comcast Center uses 40 percent less water than the average office building, and the building's water fixtures will save more than 3 million gallons of drinking water each year. The building also features a glass curtain, blocking 60 percent of heat, while allowing 70 percent of the sun's visible light through. This reduces the need for electric day-lighting and extra energy for air conditioning.

A large part of sustainable design is paying close attention to every component in the building envelope and deciding which building product will provide the most sustainable results in that area. Offering optimum sustainability, seven CertainTeed products are featured throughout Comcast Center: CertainTeed® Ecophon Focus™ D and Ecophon Focus™ DG ceiling panels; Trelisio™, Claro® and Ceilencio® ceiling products from CertainTeed's Signature by Decoustics line; CertaPro™ AcoustaTherm™ Batt Insulation; and SoftTouch™ Duct Wrap Insulation.

Wyatt, Inc., of Philadelphia, served as the ceilings and partitions contractor for much of the building. They installed approximately 13,000 square feet of CertainTeed Ecophon Focus D and Ecophon Focus DG ceiling panels in Comcast Corporation's executive conference room and on-site restaurants Ralph's Café and Table 31 Steakhouse Bistro. Govberg Jewelers, a high-end watch and jewelry retailer located in the Comcast Center, features a single-sourced, multi-finish ceiling application that includes the Ceilencio concealed ceiling system, Trelisio stainless steel woven wire panels and Claro acoustically transparent coating. The building serves as the headquarters for Comcast Corporation, the largest provider of cable services in the United States with 24.4 million cable customers throughout the country.

"The Ecophon ceiling panels went into the grid well, and they provide a nice, clean, monolithic look to the ceiling, especially with all the light fixtures incorporated," says Jeff Slaney, Project Superintendent for Wyatt. "The customer really liked the look of the panels. The Ecophon panels also provide easy tilt-down access when repairs are needed for the light fixtures and ductwork, so that provides another great advantage for the customer."

In addition to smooth installation and spectacular results, the use of Ecophon Focus D and DG gives the project a significant green boost. With a LEED-recycled content of 73 percent, both ceiling panels offer the highest of any ceiling panel available in North America.

Thermal efficiency and acoustics were also key drivers in the project. The batt insulation, supplied by George F. Kempf Supply Company, of Philadelphia, was installed by Wyatt and another local contractor — Philadelphia D&M. Wyatt installed 456,000 square feet of unfaced CertaPro AcoustaTherm R11 batts, and Philadelphia D&M installed 77,000 square feet of unfaced CertaPro AcoustaTherm R11 Batts in partitions throughout the building.

Externally insulating the HVAC ductwork on all 57 floors of Comcast Center, SoftTouch Duct Wrap also has a strong presence throughout the skyscraper. Supplied by General Insulation Company, of Camden, N.J., 60,000 square feet of the duct wrap was installed by mechanical insulation contractor Brand Energy Services LLC, of Willingboro, N.J.

"We had a good experience with the SoftTouch Duct Wrap," says Eve Carp, Purchasing Agent for Brand Energy Services. "There was no problem handling the product, and all seemed to go well."

"CertainTeed products are an increasingly popular choice for LEED certified projects throughout the United States," says Peter Dachowski, President and CEO of CertainTeed Corporation. "We are very pleased to have our products featured so prominently in this history-making green building."

Developed by Liberty Property Trust, Comcast Center was designed by New York architectural firm Robert A. M. Stern Architects in association with Kendall/Heaton Associates, Inc., of Houston — the project's architect of record — and built by Philadelphia general contractor L.F. Driscoll. It is owned by Liberty/Commerz 1701 JFK Boulevard, L.P. a joint venture of CommerzLeasing & Immobilien AG and Liberty Property Trust. It officially opened for business in June 2008.

About the Featured Products:

Ecophon Focus D provides superior sound absorption, 73 percent recycled content and has a smooth and monolithic look that simulates the finish of drywall. With these ceiling panels, architects are able to combine the beauty of a fully concealed grid with the functionality of a fully accessible ceiling. The panels, manufactured from high-density glass wool covered by a micro-porous finish, offer superior sound absorption (international Class A), perfect light diffusion (99 percent) and humidity resistance. Ecophon Focus D panels are available in large sizes that allow the architect more freedom with space creation and are best suited for public lobbies and conference rooms, or anywhere that demands a balance of aesthetical appeal and acoustic control.

Ecophon Focus DG ceiling panels offer architects a floating design option for suspended ceiling applications. The suspension grid is a 1/2- inch above the visible surface of the ceiling and the space between panels is 1/4-inch. This "semi-concealed" grid gives the impression that each panel is individually suspended in space. Also featuring a microporous finish, Ecophon Focus DG offers superior sound absorption and humidity resistance. Recommended applications for Ecophon Focus DG include conference areas, cafeterias, communal areas, restaurants and reception offices – anywhere where design and quiet need to co-exist.

Included as part of CertainTeed's Signature by Decoustics product line, Ceilencio is an integrated architectural concealed suspension ceiling system that combines design flexibility with easy downward access. The custom system features easy installation and panels which release downward providing easy access to the plenum.

Claro is an acoustically transparent coating on Decoustics' ceiling panels with superb sound absorbing properties and the classic appearance of painted drywall or plaster. With its smooth, serene finish, Claro can be used in both traditional and modern interiors. The standard white color provides superior light reflectance giving the finish a bright appearance. It is available in both standard white and custom colors.

Trelisio Woven Wire panels, also a part of the Signature by Decoustics product portfolio, are prefabricated and ready-to-install without the need for third party custom hardware. Trelisio acoustical panels can be used as part of ceiling or wall systems and are offered in nine stainless steel and wovenware finishes, which are fully integrated into a single-source, factory fabricated panel. They can also be applied directly to walls and ceilings and are available in other wire materials such as copper, brass, bronze and aluminum.

Made with lightweight and efficient fiberglass at a current recycled content of 35 percent, CertaPro AcoustaTherm Batts enhance thermal performance in exterior walls and reduce sound transmission from room to room contributing to a quieter interior environment. Its excellent, proven thermal performance promotes energy efficiency and provides comfortable interiors at reduced building operating costs. GREENGUARD® Children & Schools Certified for superior indoor air quality (IAQ), CertaPro AcoustaTherm batts are available faced or unfaced for steel stud commercial construction. All CertaPro products are easy to cut and install and will not settle or sag providing sustainable performance for the lifetime of the structure. The products also resist bacteria, fungal growth and will not rot or deteriorate.

SoftTouch Duct Wrap Insulation is a foil scrim kraft (FSK)-faced flexible fiberglass blanket insulation used to insulate the exterior of rectangular and round heating, ventilating and air conditioning ductwork. Ideal for green construction projects, it provides thermal efficiency that reduces unwanted heat loss or gain from equipment and ductwork. When properly installed in the correct thickness, SoftTouch virtually eliminates ductwork condensation problems that can often lead to mold and microbial growth.

For additional photos, including interior, contact Mike Loughery at mike.b.Loughery@saint-gobain.com.

About CertainTeed

Through innovation and creative product design, CertainTeed has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm made its slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," which quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed® is North America's leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, windows, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and access covers.

Headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 6,000 employees and more than 65 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. In 2008 the group had total sales of more than $3 billion.


Mike Loughery
Director of Marketing Communications, CertainTeed