June 02, 2014 | Valley Forge, PA USA

Saint-Gobain and YouthBuild Schenectady Announce Completion of Non-Profits’ First LEED® Gold Home Renovation

Sustainable gut-rehab in Hamilton Hill is first to be finished in Schenectady under non-profits’ national partnership with company.

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, in partnership with YouthBuild Schenectady (operated by Northeast Parent & Child Society) announces the completed renovation of 843 Emmett Street in Schenectady, the non-profits’ first gut-rehab home in Schenectady, set to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification. More than 80 YouthBuild Schenectady students and the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation transformed the once-dilapidated property into a home that is both sustainable and affordable in 23 months, and today distinguished guests, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Congressman Paul D. Tonko, will recognize the students’ accomplishment in a ceremonial ribbon cutting. 

The YouthBuild Schenectady project is the first to be finished in Schenectady under the national partnership between the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation and YouthBuild USA in support of the non-profit’s national green building and job training program. The program provides out-of-school, out-of-work young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 with the opportunity to build energyefficient, healthy, and affordable homes in their communities and gain green job skills while earning their GEDs or high school diplomas.

“Our partnership with YouthBuild affords Saint-Gobain and its family of companies an invaluable opportunity to transform the neighborhoods where we operate as well as the lives of students who will make up the future green building workforce,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of SaintGobain and CertainTeed Corporations. “This partnership does not stem from a passion merely for green building, but rather for the city of Schenectady – from the students who transformed this home, to the family who now lives more efficiently and comfortably in it, and most importantly, the broader Schenectady community who can now see that sustainable homes can be affordable.”

Through the partnership, now in its fourth year, Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation has donated $140,000 to YouthBuild Schenectady in support of their program and this project. The Saint-Gobain family of companies, including its North American construction materials subsidiary, CertainTeed, provided nearly $16,000 in building products to the project. In addition, employees from SaintGobain and CertainTeed spent more than 300 hours of time providing building science and technical expertise to ensure LEED certification of the home as well as mentorship to the students. SaintGobain’s partnership made it possible for the students to complete YouthBuild Schenectady’s first home expected to achieve LEED Gold from the USGBC.

“The partnership between YouthBuild and Saint-Gobain is a first-of-its-kind,” said John Henley, president and chief executive officer of Northeast Parent & Child Society. “Without our partnership with Saint-Gobain, students would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience a LEED building design process.”

Beyond providing green job skills, this partnership begins to fill the need for affordable and energyefficient housing in Schenectady. The project is one of the city’s most affordably built sustainable homes. The City of Schenectady is fortunate to have over a dozen LEED certified affordable homes through the HUD-funded “Options in Green Program” (each attained Platinum or Gold rating). YouthBuild Schenectady has worked with this program and used many best practices in constructing 843 Emmett Street – but this program model uses students and volunteers, which provides a very affordable way to build homes.

“The Saint-Gobain family of companies and its employees share our vision of giving young people the opportunity to transform their own lives while building affordable green housing in their communities,” said Dorothy Stoneman, CEO and Founder of YouthBuild USA.

Products selected to help YouthBuild Schenectady achieve its energy efficiency, sustainability, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and affordability goals include: 

  • A Hybrid Insulation System from CertainTeed, consisting of CertaSpray® Closed Cell Foam, OPTIMA® Blow-in Insulation System, and MemBrain™ Smart Vapor Retarder & Air Barrier Film:
    • Foam insulation provides an effective seal on the backside of the home’s sheathing, while the fiberglass insulation fills 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.
  • Three different types of gypsum from CertainTeed were used throughout the home, including:
    • AirRenew® Essential Indoor Air Quality Gypsum Board from CertainTeed 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.
    • Diamondback® GlasRoc® Tile Backer from CertainTeed 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% lighter than cement backerboard and is GREENGUARD Gold Certified.
    • ProRoc® Regular Gypsum Board from CertainTeed features a premium-quality, noncombustible gypsum core for use on interior walls and ceilings. It’s encased in a smooth face and back covering of 100% recycled paper.

Products from Saint-Gobain’s family of companies that contributed to the home’s aesthetics include:

Products from Saint-Gobain’s family of companies that contributed to the building process include:

  • 3X High Performance Portable Belts from Norton, which feature high performance zirconia for three times the life
  • 3X High Performance Hook & Sand Discs from Norton, which feature patented ceramic abrasives for ultimate performance
  • 3X High Performance Sheets from Norton, which feature heat treated aluminum oxide abrasive for three times the performance of conventional sheets
  • BlueFire Wheels from Norton, which feature high performance zirconia abrasives
  • Ergonomic Hand Sander Disc Kit from Norton, which quickly converts hook & loop discs into a hand sanding tool. The ergonomic shape fits the user’s finger grip for added comfort and reduced fatigue.
  • Wall Sanding Screen from Norton, which sands and smooth’s the drywall joints

The Emmett Street property is owned and maintained by Northeast Parent and Child Society and is being rented to a family that has fulfilled eligibility requirements. 

“In just the first few months of living in the home, we realized the advantages of living in a healthy, energy efficient and air-tight home,” said Tonia Thomas, the homeowner. “Even during the especially frigid winter we had this year, we experienced dramatically lower energy bills andincreased comfort due to fewer variations in temperature from room-to-room. It means a lot to me to know that my home is healthy and that my children are breathing clean air and are not being exposed to mold and pollutants.”

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: Akron, Ohio; Worcester, Mass.; and Philadelphia, Pa. For more information about Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation’s partnership with YouthBuild USA, please visit http://www.saint-gobain-northamerica.com/people/YouthBuild.asp

Editor’s Note: Product images and fact sheets can be provided upon request; event photos will be available on 6/3.


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 15,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $7.9 billion in 2013.

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, 2013 and 2014 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.

Saint-Gobain has strong ties to New York where it employs nearly 1,200 statewide, including more than 500 in the Schenectady region at Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Norandex and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics.

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, insulation, gypsum and ceilings.

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 six 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 2013.

About Northeast Parent and Child Society & YouthBuild Schenectady

Northeast Parent & Child Society, an affiliate of Northern Rivers Family Services, provides a full array of residential, special education, family foster care, children’s mental health, family preservation and career development programs. Over the past 125 years, we have helped more than 100,000 children and families build better futures. Our dedicated staff is over 600 people strong, annually serving 7,000 people from our 35 county service area in New York State. 

Formed in 2006, YouthBuild Schenectady has provided educational, career, life skills training and leadership development to hundreds of young adults in Schenectady County while contributing tens of thousands of hours of community service and refurbishing dozens of houses for low-income homeowners.

For more information on Northeast and YouthBuild Schenectady, please visit www.neparentchild.org.

About YouthBuild and YouthBuild USA

YouthBuild programs are sponsored by local community- and faith-based organizations and public entities that raise funds from a variety of sources. Primary funding for local YouthBuild programs comes from the US Department of Labor under the federal YouthBuild program, authorized under the Workforce Investment Act and administered by the Employment and Training Administration. There are now 264 YouthBuild programs in 46 states, Washington, and the Virgin Islands. Since 1994, 120,000 YouthBuild students have built 22,000 units of affordable, increasing green housing. YouthBuild is now being replicated by NGOs and governments in Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Serbia, and South Africa.

YouthBuild USA is an international nonprofit organization that works to unleash the positive energy of lowincome young people to rebuild their communities and their lives. YouthBuild USA leads the international YouthBuild movement and contributes to the broader youth and community development fields in order to diminish poverty in the United States and internationally. The US Department of Labor contracts with YouthBuild USA to provide training and technical assistance to its YouthBuild grantees. For more information, visit http://www.youthbuild.org.

Press Contacts

Saint-Gobain in North America:
Bill Seiberlich
610-341-7187 (office)

Brownstein Group for Saint-Gobain North America:
Nicole Gainer
518-579-3506 (office)
518-701-4927 (mobile)

YouthBuild Schenectady
Eugene White
518-579-3506 (office)
518-701-4927 (mobile)