The 320,000-square-foot campus, situated on 65 acres, underwent a renovation over the past 18 months to transform the long-dormant site into a dynamic showcase for Saint-Gobain and its North American construction materials subsidiary, CertainTeed Corporation. Designed to take full advantage of Saint-Gobain and its family of companies’ extensive portfolio of products, the headquarters opens on 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. The opening of the headquarters marks the culmination of a yearlong celebration commemorating Saint-Gobain’s 350th anniversary and was celebrated today with employees, members of the community and dignitaries, including Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack; Pennsylvania State Sen. Andy Dinniman; City of Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter; U.S. Green Building Council President Roger Platt; and Karen P. Butler, National Manager of ENERGY STAR Commercial Building Design of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed’s Headquarters is designed to demonstrate the power our products have to improve the quality of people’s lives. It is a shining example of how innovative companies can design, construct and renovate sustainable, healthy, comfortable and environmentally friendly buildings around the world," said John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporations.
The E. Kahn Development Corp. and J. Loew & Associates Inc., in collaboration with AEGON USA Realty Advisors LLC, led the headquarters’ redesign. Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Headquarters is a high-performance, sustainable building designed to achieve the highest level of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It will be the only commercial building to have an interior and exterior that is certified LEED v3 Platinum by the USGBC in the State of Pennsylvania, according to the published USGBC database.
In April 2014, Saint-Gobain signed a long-term lease for the campus that will be the workplace of more than 800 employees across Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed. Saint-Gobain elected to keep its headquarters in Chester County to retain its well-established talent base and continue its contribution to the financial vitality of Chester County and the Greater Philadelphia area. The expanded campus is also home to CertainTeed’s Malvern Innovation Center, which opened in October 2014, and marks the first time the company’s local research and operations teams will share a site. The new headquarters also boasts significant open-concept office space; 116 collaborative spaces; a cafeteria, along with other food and beverage spaces; a fitness facility; a pond; a fountain installation; and 1.3 miles of walking trails.
"The headquarters means 120 new jobs for Chester County and the building was designed to allow for the continued expansion of Saint-Gobain right here in our state, creating the possibility of even more jobs in the future," said Lt. Gov. Stack. "Saint-Gobain's 350-year history tells us that the company is a success and its decision to locate its new U.S. headquarters here serves as a testament to the opportunities that are open to a company when it chooses to make Pennsylvania its home."
Key project members included Bernardon as the designer for the exterior and lobby; Jacobs as the designer for the interior; D. Fickler Construction LLC as the contractor; and Binswanger as the real estate broker and project manager.
"Our products have been used in some of the most iconic buildings of the modern age from the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles to the glass pyramid at the Louvre to the Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center," said Crowe. "It was time for us to create a space here in North America that honored the accomplishments of 14 generations of innovation and dedication to improving a building’s environment. Furthermore, we needed a space to enable our most important asset — our employees — to create the next chapter of our innovation legacy."
Sets Stage for Future Growth and Expansion
Over the past 40 years, Saint-Gobain’s portfolio of North American businesses has evolved and the former headquarters located in Valley Forge was no longer conducive to close cooperation across business units. The new state-of-the-art, modern facility promotes the cross-collaboration the company believes is essential for its businesses to succeed, as well as to attract and retain top talent. The new campus is three times larger than the company’s previous campus. In addition to accommodating additional business units, the campus has been designed to hold future businesses that are acquired by Saint-Gobain.
"The opportunity to bring together the long-term insights of marketing with the deep customer experience of sales and then combine them with the expertise of our scientists in one central location was too great an opportunity to pass up. It’s our belief that it will yield better products and solutions for our customers and consumers across North America," said Minas Apelian, Vice President of Research & Development for CertainTeed Corporation. "Our inventors, problem-solvers and visionaries will be able to work better together to solve the world’s biggest challenges and make a material difference in the way people work, live and play."
Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed’s Headquarters is a next-generation 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 installation of so many technologies has created a “living laboratory,” where the company’s research team can measure the impact its products have on a real workplace. The company asserts having its scientists work in a “living laboratory” will enhance product development and employees’ lives and is putting measurements in place to assess the impact on its occupants.
Building Materials Selection
The headquarters showcases 40 products – eight on the exterior and 32 in the interior – from Saint-Gobain’s family of companies, including CertainTeed Corporation, SageGlass, Saint-Gobain Glass, Saint-Gobain ADFORS and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics. Saint-Gobain selected the products to achieve energy efficiency, sustainability, indoor environmental quality, acoustic and aesthetic goals, including:
SageGlass, the world’s smartest electrochromic glass, is installed on the western and southern elevations of the façade and plays an integral role in helping parent company Saint-Gobain achieve its sustainability goals, while creating a next-generation workplace that puts employees’ comfort first. The façade features 17,000 square feet of SageGlass, marking one of the largest installations of electrochromic glass to date. SageGlass was selected for its ability to dynamically control sunlight, to optimize daylight, maintain outdoor views and enhance comfort by preventing glare and solar heat. By controlling sunlight, SageGlass dramatically reduces energy demand and the need for HVAC, while increasing employees’ comfort and well-being. Specifically, the electrochromic glass incorporates SageGlass LightZone™ technology so it can have three different zones of tinting within one pane of glass to maximize daylight and allow employees to comfortably enjoy unobstructed views of the natural environment, which has been shown to boost productivity and satisfaction in the workplace.
Saint-Gobain Glass Cool-Lite SKN163II is used in most of the building’s common-area façades, providing an optimal light-to-solar gain ratio in summer months and excellent thermal comfort during cooler periods, thus reducing both cooling and heating loads.
In the interior of the headquarters, Novelio® CleanAir Wallcovering is used in conjunction with Novelio® Mold-X Wallcovering. These products were selected to help Saint-Gobain achieve the building’s indoor environmental quality goals and to create a positive impact on the health of the employees. Novelio® CleanAir Wallcovering has the ability to trap and neutralize 70 percent of harmful aldehydes and sanitize the air whereas Novelio® Mold-X Wallcovering features an anti-microbial coating that actively repels and kills fungus and black mold. FibaTape® Mold-X10™ and FibaFuse® drywall tapes were also used in the wall-finishing portion of the building to aid in mold and mildew resistance.
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics
Sheerfill® Fiberglass Architectural Membrane coated with Teflon® is installed to create a canopy over the entranceway of the headquarters. Sheerfill is used in many of the world’s landmarks for its contribution to valuable LEED points and its lowering of air conditioning and lighting costs. It has the potential to transmit up to 17 percent of daylight with long-term reflectivity of over 70 percent. It is also the first architectural membrane to be rated by the Cool Roof Rating Council and is ENERGY STAR certified. Sheerfill was selected for the headquarters of parent company Saint-Gobain for its maintenance-free attributes, over 25-year life expectancy and its non-combustible features. In addition, the product was selected to create a stunning architectural profile that can be appreciated day or night.
Low-slope CoolStar Solar Reflective Roofing — one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to lower commercial building energy consumption — will help minimize the building’s environmental impact, maximize occupant comfort and provide the highest degree of weather protection possible.
To help contain unwanted crosstalk, air rush, equipment noise, moisture buildup and energy loss in the building ToughGard® TGR Rotary Duct Liner and SoftTouchTM Duct Wrap are used throughout all of the HVAC systems, helping to improve acoustic performance, indoor air quality and employee comfort.
Sustainable Insulation® fiberglass R-13 and R-19 batt insulation will create an environment that is quiet, comfortable and conserves energy and resources. Used in interior walls, AirRenew® Essential IAQ Gypsum wallboard removes Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air, improving indoor air quality and promoting healthier living and work environments. SilentFX® Noise-Reducing Gypsum wallboard is also used to help reduce noise where acoustic management is needed. In areas of the headquarters where tile bonding is required, particularly in kitchen and bath areas, Diamondback® GlasRoc® Tile Backer is used for superior moisture and mold resistance, as well as durability.
A variety of CertainTeed’s acoustical ceiling products are featured, including Gyptone and Gyptone Quattro perforated panels and ceiling tiles. Ecophon® Focus™ Ds and Solo Circle combine style and performance in the headquarters for a quieter, more productive workplace.
Path Towards Sustainability
The Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Headquarters was designed in close consultation with a number of local sustainability consulting firms, including The Sheward Partnership, Jacobs Engineering and Sustainable Solutions Corp. In addition to pursuing the USGBC’s LEED v3 Platinum certification for the commercial interior and LEED v3 Platinum certification for the core and shell, the headquarters is pursuing certification for The Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program.
Beyond these North American programs, the headquarters was designed to adhere to Saint-Gobain’s CARE:4 program (Company Actions of the Reduction of Energy by a factor of 4). This company program sets energy efficiency and employee comfort requirements for new construction and major renovation projects.
The project strategies are meant to align with Saint-Gobain’s sustainability goals of energy efficiency, environmental stewardship and healthy working environments.The sustainable strategies incorporated into this project, in addition to the use of products from Saint-Gobain and its family of companies, include:
- Approximately 79 percent of construction and demolition waste was diverted from landfill disposal. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, construction and demolition waste makes up 17 percent of Pennsylvania’s entire municipal waste stream.
- Materials in the building were carefully selected to contain high levels of recycled content. Post-consumer and -industrial recycled content reduced the negative impact resulting from the extraction and processing of raw materials.
- Special consideration was given to selecting locally manufactured materials. For example, furniture workstations were manufactured in East Greenville, Pa., and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. By specifying locally manufactured materials, less energy was spent to bring the products to the site.
- This project will achieve significant water savings through the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures. The project is projected to use 40 percent less water than a conventional office building, saving 640,000 gallons of water per year.
- Interior finishes and furnishings installed in the building were specified to contain little or no VOCs. For example, low-emitting products used included adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, flooring, composite wood and furniture. Reducing the amount of VOCs entering the building provides a safer and healthier environment for building occupants.
- In an effort to significantly reduce the number of miles employees travel to and from the campus the company is providing bicycle storage facilities, preferred parking for low-emission and fuel-efficient vehicles, electric vehicle charging stations and a free shuttle service to and from the Paoli Station, which services Amtrak and SEPTA trains, for employees who choose to commute from Center City and other areas.
ABOUT SAINT-GOBAIN IN NORTH AMERICA
For 350 years, 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 for three-and-a-half centuries – and 2015 is the company’s commemorative year.
In North America, the company upholds this rich history of innovation by making a difference in the spaces where people work, live, play, heal and learn. Along with its North American headquarters in Malvern, Pa., Saint-Gobain has more than 250 locations in North America and approximately 15,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $6.2 billion in 2014.
Join Saint-Gobain in a celebration of the company’s 350 years of innovation, wonders and advancements by exploring this site and www.futuresensations.com or connect with Saint-Gobain North America on Facebook and Twitter.