May 14, 2013 | Valley Forge, PA USA

Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Philadelphia Embark on Linchpin, Green Home Renovation Project in Nicetown

Sustainable rehab of two eyesore properties links adjacent revitalization efforts; project begins with executives and dignitaries working alongside students.

Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building materials company, in partnership with YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, today begin the sustainable renovation of two eyesore properties located at 2006 and 2007 Wingohocking Street in Philadelphia's Nicetown neighborhood. Over the next 10 months, approximately 120 YouthBuild Philadelphia students and the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation will transform the dilapidated homes into models of affordable and sustainable urban living. Beyond that, these two Wayne Junction-area homes will link together adjacent economic developments and have an enduring, positive impact on Nicetown, Germantown and the rest of North Philadelphia. Today, the start of this linchpin project will be recognized in a ceremonial ground-breaking, followed by a hands-on volunteer kick-off in which business executives, local dignitaries and neighbors will work alongside YouthBuild students.

This will be the second project completed by YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School and Saint-Gobain under the three-year national partnership between the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation and YouthBuild USA in support of the youth development program's national green building and job training program. The Green Initiative program provides former out-of-school youth the opportunity to build energy-efficient homes in their neighborhoods while earning their GEDs or high school diplomas.

The partnership with the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation is a first of its kind for the Philadelphia chapter and YouthBuild USA nationally. "Saint-Gobain channels the strength of its innovative building materials and knowledgeable employees to create an invaluable professional development experience for our students," said Simran Sidhu, Executive Director of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. "In doing so, they are securing a place for our students' in Philadelphia's future green-collar workforce – and that is the most rewarding byproduct of this partnership."

Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Philadelphia will complete the project in collaboration with the Nicetown Community Development Corporation (NTCDC). According to the NTCDC's latest neighborhood development study, an investment of $180 million is expected over the next five years, including the NTCDC's Nicetown Court I and II mixed-use complexes, and a $40 million restoration of the historic Wayne Junction train station. The Wingohocking Street homes, previously vacant for 15 years and located next to Nicetown Court II and across from the train station, fill a critical gap amid Nicetown's revitalization efforts.

"Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods and if we want to become a more sustainable city, we must renovate neighborhood-by-neighborhood and block-by-block in a manner that is both sustainable and affordable," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "By leveraging the expertise and support of the private sector, YouthBuild is helping Nicetown accomplish that – and proving that one sustainable home can impact an entire neighborhood's revitalization."

The Saint-Gobain family of companies, led by CertainTeed – the company's renowned building materials division, expects to donate a range of energy-efficient building products to the project. In addition, employees from Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed's Valley Forge headquarters will spend many hours of on-site support to ensure the homes' timely completion. CertainTeed's industry-leading building scientists will play an especially valuable role as they advise the students and other project partners on the use of energy-efficient product technology and passive strategies to build a home that is healthier for the homeowner and the environment, while still economical to own.

"We've been part of the fabric of Philadelphia since 1948, and today we embark on our second sustainable renovation in this neighborhood under our YouthBuild partnership," said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed. "This partnership does not stem from a passion merely for green building, but rather for Philadelphians– from the students who transform the homes today, to the families who will live more efficiently in them tomorrow, and most importantly, the future generation of Philadelphians who will inherit a more sustainable city."

The multi-family homes will be designed to achieve U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification. It will be sold to low- to moderate-income families, pre-qualified by the Nicetown CDC according to the guidelines and requirements of Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation and Office of Housing & Community Development.

The Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation's partnership with YouthBuild USA also supports green home renovation projects in three other communities, including: Akron, Ohio; Worcester, Mass.; and Schenectady, N.Y. Each of the four YouthBuild programs that are part of the partnership with Saint-Gobain, including Philadelphia, will receive a total of $100,000 in pass-through grants over three years (partnership is currently in year three).

Editor's Note: Detailed press kit can be provided upon request; event photos will be available on 5/15.

About the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation

The Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation is committed to putting the power of its people and its products into the communities in which its employees live and work. The Foundation believes Saint-Gobain can do well by doing good – and supporting non-profits that share a commitment to community development, energy conservation and environmental stewardship is central to that belief. Programs such as YouthBuild that engage youth and communities in green building and renovation align closely with Saint-Gobain's mission to help professionals and communities around the world build and renovate comfortable, healthy, cost-efficient and durable buildings. Through the Foundation's support, Saint-Gobain is helping educate future generations about sustainable building and environmental preservation through its own example. For more information about Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation's partnership with YouthBuild USA, click here.

About Saint-Gobain in North America

Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building materials company, has its North American headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. As the world leader in sustainable habitat, Saint-Gobain is committed to inventing solutions to help professionals and communities around the world build and renovate comfortable, healthy, economical and energy-efficient buildings. The company has more than 265 locations in North America and approximately 19,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $7.9 billion in 2012.

Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011, 2012 and 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award, the highest level of recognition for outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through energy efficiency. For more information about Saint-Gobain in North America, connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

About CertainTeed

Through the responsible development of innovative and sustainable building products, CertainTeed, headquartered in Valley Forge, Pa., has helped shape the building products industry for more than 100 years. Founded in 1904 as General Roofing Manufacturing Company, the firm's slogan "Quality Made Certain, Satisfaction Guaranteed," quickly inspired the name CertainTeed. Today, CertainTeed® is North America's leading brand of exterior and interior building products, including roofing, siding, fence, decking, railing, trim, foundations, pipe, insulation, gypsum, ceilings and access covers.

A subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building products company, CertainTeed and its affiliates have more than 5,700 employees and more than 60 manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. For five consecutive years, the company has received top honors from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its contributions in protecting the environment and was most recently the recipient of the 2013 ENERGY STAR Sustained Excellence Award. The group had total sales of approximately $3.3 billion in 2012.

About YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School provides out-of-school youth in Philadelphia with the broadest range of tools, supports and opportunities available to become self-sufficient, responsible and productive citizens. YouthBuild Philadelphia is an innovative alternative education program that blends a rigorous academic curriculum with on-the-job training through community service. Students at YouthBuild Philadelphia earn their high school diplomas and make successful transitions to full-time jobs and post-secondary educational programs.

Press Contacts:

Saint-Gobain in North America:
Dina Silver Pokedoff, APR
610-341-7031 (office)
484-919-2103 (mobile)

Brownstein Group for Saint-Gobain in North America:
Laura Van De Pette, APR
267-238-4118 (office)
215-833-3458 (mobile)