They will be joined by Mayor Joseph M. Petty and community members this Saturday, April 28 at 2 p.m. for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
In 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) penalized Worcester-based Saint-Gobain for allegedly failing to comply with air pollution control regulations. In addressing the violation, Saint-Gobain saw an opportunity to assist the Worcester community in reducing its environmental impact in a more meaningful way than simply paying the $28,000 fine. The company proposed a settlement that would entail the purchase and installation of a $21,000 three kilowatt solar panel roofing system at the Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, with the remaining $7,000 of the penalty paid to the Commonwealth.
In honoring its responsibility to not only make right, but also to enhance the Worcester community where Saint-Gobain employs 1,400 and has a 125-year history, Saint-Gobain also financed the $52,000 construction of a pavilion to hold the solar panels and be used as classroom space to teach Worcester-area youth about connecting with nature and the importance of conservation.
"At Saint-Gobain, we believe we can do well by doing good, and reducing energy consumption within the communities we operate is central to that belief," said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed, the company's largest subsidiary in North America. "In settling the violation, we realized an opportunity to not only improve the environment in which our employees and customers live, but more importantly, to educate future generations about environmental preservation through our example."
Saint-Gobain provided and installed AVANCIS PowerMax ®, a Copper-Indium-Selenium thin film solar system that will deliver the highest electricity conversion efficiency, allowing the Conservation Center to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, a priority goal of Mass Audubon statewide. CertainTeed also donated its Landmark roofing shingles to complete the pavilion.
"We have long wanted to move this project forward but could not fund it, so we are especially grateful that Saint-Gobain turned a misstep into a significant step forward in our effort to preserve the natural beauty of the Worcester community," said Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson. "Saint-Gobain far exceeded our expectations of a good neighbor; by doing so, the company will help foster a lifelong appreciation of the environment among the local children, who will discover the natural world through the educational programming held in this pavilion."
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the South High Marching Band will lead attendees down a nature trail to the newly expanded nature play area that was supported through donations from community partners including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Marois Brothers, Mayer Tree, Miller Fence, Northern Tree Service, Phyllis Pollack and her friends, Richard MacKinnon and South High Service Learning Fund.
"I applaud Saint-Gobain for being a responsible corporate citizen to its neighbors," said Worcester Mayor Joseph M. Petty. "Their collaboration with Mass Audubon at Broad Meadow Brook is a testament to the company's environmental stewardship and commitment to building a more sustainable community for all of us."
About Mass Audubon
Mass Audubon works to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and wildlife. Together with more than 100,000 members, we care for more than 34,000 acres of conservation land, provide educational programs for 225,000 children and adults annually, and advocate for sound environmental policies at local, state, and federal levels. Mass Audubon's mission and actions have expanded since our beginning in 1896 when our founders set out to stop the slaughter of birds for use on women's fashions. Today we are the largest conservation organization in New England. Our statewide network of wildlife sanctuaries, in 90 Massachusetts communities, welcomes visitors of all ages and serves as the base for our work. To support these important efforts, call 800-AUDUBON (283-8266) or visit www.massaudubon.org.
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 $7.7 billion in 2011.
Saint-Gobain's family of companies in North America includes CertainTeed Corporation, which offers the most comprehensive portfolio of interior and exterior building products in North America, as well as Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Saint-Gobain ADFORS (previously known as Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics), Vetrotech Saint-Gobain North America, Saint-Gobain Glass, Saint-Gobain Solar and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics.
In Massachusetts, the company has nearly 2,500 employees, with major production facilities in Milford, Northampton, Norwood, Taunton and Worcester, as well as the company's largest worldwide R&D center in Northboro.
Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011 and 2012 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, visit www.saint-gobain-northamerica.com and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.
Dina Pokedoff, APR
External Communications Manager