The North American Corporate Headquarters of Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, announced yesterday that it has received LEED Platinum certification for both commercial interiors and core and shell, as established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). The headquarters’ sustainable design places equal value on environmental sustainability, employee wellbeing and comfort. In doing so, the building is now a dynamic showcase for Saint-Gobain and its largest construction brand CertainTeed Corporation.
“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations. “That vision connects deeply with our values at Saint-Gobain and reinforces the purpose of our new headquarters, which is to honor the past accomplishments of 14 generations of employees, and invigorate today’s employees who uphold Saint-Gobain’s rich heritage of improving the built environment and driving the green building movement.”
After an 18-month renovation to transform the long-dormant site, located at 20 Moores Road in Malvern, Pa., the 277,000 square foot building opened on October 15, 2015 – the exact day Saint-Gobain was founded 350 years ago by King Louis XIV of France to manufacture glass for the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles in Paris.
Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed’s Headquarters is a sustainable workplace that maximizes the comfort and health of employees through the use of a wide range of the company’s building materials that improve air quality, moisture management, acoustics, energy efficiency, thermal management and ergonomics. The usage of more than 50 products from its portfolio has created a “living laboratory,” where the company’s research team can measure the benefits that its products provide to the real workplace.
The design of the North American headquarters has also changed how employees collaborate, in that the interior design minimizes barriers between newly co-located groups with flexible configurations, to encourage collaboration and inspire creativity. With open-concept office spaces, 116 collaborative spaces, gourmet cafeteria along with other food and beverage spaces, state-of-the-art fitness facility, a natural pond, fountain installation and 1.3 miles of walking trails, the headquarters is raising the bar for workplaces and the green building movement.
“Saint-Gobain’s LEED Platinum certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed serve as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish.”
LEED certification of the Saint-Gobain & CertainTeed North American Headquarters was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the surrounding environment and building complex itself that employees now call home. These features include:
- In an effort to significantly reduce the number of miles employees travel to and from the campus as well as improve the environment, the company is providing bicycle storage facilities, electric vehicle charging stations and preferred parking for low-emission / fuel-efficient vehicles and carpools. In addition, a free shuttle service to and from the nearby Paoli Station, which services Amtrak and SEPTA trains, is available for employees who choose to commute from Center City, Philadelphia and other surrounding areas.
- Select landscape areas at the main entrance are irrigated. The irrigation system and the water feature utilize harvested rainwater, thereby reducing potable water use by 100 percent. Rainwater is collected from a 7,000 square foot roof area and stored in a 25,000 gallon cistern onsite.
- High efficiency plumbing fixtures reduce potable water demands by more than 40 percent, estimated to save over 640,000 gallons of water per year.
Energy & Atmosphere
- One of the main priorities of the project was to achieve superior energy savings. Through 3D computer simulation energy modeling, the building anticipates 30 percent energy cost savings when compared to a typical code-compliant office building.
- Minimizing external loads is achieved through improved roof and wall performance, along with the electronically tintable dynamic glazing SageGlass. Daylight sensors are located along the perimeter of the building to measure incoming daylight levels and modulate the glass transmittance according to interior needs. SageGlass provides beneficial daylighting and views to the exterior, while reducing uncomfortable glare and solar heat gain.
- Minimizing internal loads is achieved through the specification of energy efficient LED lighting throughout, as well as Energy Star equipment and appliances throughout the facility. Overall lighting power density is reduced over 40 percent below ASHRAE requirements.
Materials & Resources
- The former building infrastructure was demolished to the structural system and reused in the new design.
- Approximately 90 percent of the construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfill disposal.
- Materials were carefully selected for their environmental and human health attributes. Saint-Gobain’s array of product offerings contributed to LEED verified recycled content, locally manufactured materials, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood.
Indoor Environmental Quality
- The interior includes low volatile organic compound (VOC) emitting building materials, carpeting and furniture for a safe, healthy working environment. All paints and varnishes used in the building renovation were also required to have low VOC content. This contributed to a healthy indoor air quality, further enhanced by the installation of partitions that feature CertainTeed’s Air Renew® gypsum wallboard, that absorbs formaldehyde from the air and converts it to a safe, inert compound.
Innovation in Design
- Saint-Gobain has also implemented a green housekeeping program that utilizes environmentally friendly cleaning materials and equipment that help to sustain the high level of interior air quality on a daily basis. Additionally, Saint-Gobain also created an education program for employees and guests to share its journey and lessons learned in pursuing sustainability at the new headquarters.
Although the latest LEED v4 was not available at the time of planning the headquarters, Saint-Gobain recognized that many aspects of v4 are applied in the building through the work of its Environmental Health & Safety teams. Specifically, Saint-Gobain pursued select credits under the Innovation in Design category by providing details on environmental product declarations, health product declarations and a corporate sustainability report, all of which demonstrate the company’s commitment to product transparency and contribute to LEED v4.
The E. Kahn Development Corp. and J. Loew & Associates Inc., in collaboration with AEGON USA Realty Advisors LLC, led the headquarters’ redesign with a talented design team, including: Bernardon, exterior and lobby architect; Jacobs, interior designer; and D. Fickler Construction LLC, general contractor. The Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Headquarters was designed in close consultation with a number of local sustainability consulting firms, including The Sheward Partnership, Jacobs and Sustainable Solutions Corp.
About Saint-Gobain in North America
Saint-Gobain, the world leader in sustainable environments, has designed and manufactured high-performance building materials that improve the lives of people all over the world. From the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles and the glass pyramid at the Louvre, to The Statue of Liberty and The World Trade Center, and even components that allow the Mars Rover Curiosity to seek out life on another planet, Saint-Gobain has been a part of the fabric of human history, advancement and improvement.
In North America, the company upholds this rich history of innovation by making a material difference in the spaces where people work, live, play, heal and learn. Along with its North American headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, Saint-Gobain has more than 150 locations in North America and approximately 14,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $5.7 billion in 2015. Learn more about the headquarters at livinglaboratory.com or saint-gobain-northamerica.com, Facebook.com/SaintGobainNA and on Twitter @SaintGobainNA.
Editor’s Note: A slide show of photography is available here.