YouthBuild Canton students complete siding training with CertainTeed

Students from Project Rebuild, our newest YouthBuild partnership in Canton, Ohio, recently participated in siding training with employees from our sister company, CertainTeed.

Mark McNabb, senior territory manager, coordinated the training and shared his knowledge of the siding products and oversaw the installation of CertainTeed’s Cedar Impressions Sawmill Shake Shingles. The experience was beneficial for the students and staff.

The students of YouthBuild Canton send a huge “thank you” to Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed for the opportunity to participate in the training.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to work on our project located at 1714 Frazer Avenue NW in Canton!

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YouthBuild Philadelphia students witness installation of solar panel system

Recently, three YouthBuild Philadelphia students visited the Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed North American headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, to witness the assembly of three major components of a solar panel system—racking, solar module and the inverter—as a learning opportunity.

Saint-Gobain tapped two Chester County-based businesses to install the system—Alternative Energy Development Group (AEDG), based in Berlin, which served as the project developer and consultant, and Keares Electrical Consulting, based in Downingtown, which served as the electrical consulting firm.

The company’s decision to install CoolStar Solar Reflective Roofing and solar panel system from CertainTeed, coupled with its decision to install insulation from CertainTeed and electronically tintable dynamic glazing from SageGlass, led to the company earning LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for superior core and shell performance.

Since the company is not the building owner but has a long-term lease arrangement, ensuring the integrity of the roof was very important to both landlord and tenant. Saint-Gobain worked in close consultation with AEDG to deploy a solution that would ensure the roof integrity would not be compromised. As a result, the building serves as an example for how companies that are energy efficient and sustainability-minded can work together to move forward with a solar roof installation that has significant benefits for both building owner and occupant.

The company selected to install Solstice GreenTriplex PM250MO1 by CertainTeed Roofing. By installing this product, the company’s building scientists will be able to study the impact of the product which will enhance the development of other residential solar systems.

In addition to witnessing the solar installation, the YouthBuild students received a behind the scenes look at the installation process about how the system will impact energy savings and product development.

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Employees Team Up With Project Rebuild for EHS Day 2016

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (PPL) and Project Rebuild celebrated Saint-Gobain’s International Environment, Health and Safety Day by constructing a bench made out of reclaimed wood from our partnership house on Frazer Ave in Canton, OH.

Project Rebuild students visited the PPL headquarters in Solon, OH, to help employees with the project. The project started with introductions and a discussion with Kristin Wilson, PPL’s Human Resources Manager, followed by the bench project.

Students and employees worked together side-by-side to build the bench.

The bench is now a part of the Solon campus, as the students left it as a token of appreciation for our partnership.

To see highlights from the project, click here



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Scientist in the Classroom continues with cycle 3

Saint-Gobain continued its STEM education partnership with YouthBuild Worcester by kicking off its third cycle of Scientist in the Classroom.

The Scientists in the Classroom series was designed to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to YouthBuild Worcester students, by allowing Saint-Gobain’s Northboro R&D employees to participate as  volunteers. Northboro volunteers bring their STEM backgrounds and expertise to YouthBuild students by teaching STEM lessons to students in the classroom.

CertainTeed Senior Principal Scientist, Rachel Pytel and super abrasives  Senior Technical Specialist, Linda Bateman  shared their personal career journeys, which inspired both the students and staff.  Volunteers conducted a lesson on “Introduction to Thermal Expansion” with included demonstrations utilizing CertainTeed siding as well as various exercises in area and expansion.  The presentation was informative, fun and an overall great learning experience for all involved!

Check out some of the student’s reactions from the day below to see just how inspired
and motivated they felt after a day of being with “Scientists in the Classroom”!

 “It makes me want to go to the job site!”
- Alex Tayler

“I will look at houses differently now.  I learned so much about hot and cold temperatures.”
- Kosta Tziarbas

“Now I am interested in building houses with the materials we learned about.  It’s all so interesting!  Thank you!”
- Jordan Martinez

Click here to check out a video recapping the day. What a perfect way to kick off the 2016 series!

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Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics President is inspired by Leonard

In late April, we officially kicked off our partnership with YouthBuild Canton at a pep-rally style event attending by nearly 50 people, including the Mayor of Canton, followed by a volunteer service project –we had about 10 PPL employees working hard in providing sweat equity on the project.

Tom Kinisky, President of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics,  did a great job as our speaker.  He was inspiring…and he too was clearly inspired…see below for a blog he wrote on My Saint-Gobain following the event…thanks again Tom!

Tom’s Blog:

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at the annual breakfast meeting of Project REBUILD in Canton, Ohio.  Project REBUILD is a non-profit agency that re-engages at-risk youth to complete a high school diploma or GED and acquire marketable skills in construction technologies through the rehabilitation or construction of affordable housing.  Together with Project REBUILD and YouthBuild-USA, we are supporting a project to rebuild a home in Canton, Ohio.  I was asked to represent Saint-Gobain at the breakfast meeting and to speak about the project and our affiliation with YouthBuild.

At our table was a young man named Leonard, who is currently enrolled in the Project REBUILD program.  He is about 5 months into a 9 month program.  Everyone at the table was asking him a lot of questions about his experience in the program and what he was going to do when he finished.  He told us how he was going to work at a local construction company and that he was also going to get his license to be a welder.  However, his real goal was to go to college and get a degree in social work so that he can help others who are in a similar situation to him.  He was very articulate and seemed at ease and comfortable talking to a group of business people about his future and time in the program.

Then he was asked how he got involved in Project REBUILD.  He said he learned about it from a friend who had gone through the program and thought it was so great.  We asked what the friend is doing now – thinking he had graduated and gone on to a new career.  Leonard said matter-of-factly – his friend didn’t last on the outside too long, especially after he left the project REBUILD program, and is now back in prison.  Then quickly added – that he would be different.  I suddenly realized how fragile life was for Leonard.  This well-spoken, focused, young man was trying so hard to make a different future for himself.

During my speech I mentioned Leonard and what a great spokesperson he was at our table for Project REBUILD.  Later we visited the house and as I was leaving he ran up to me and thanked me for giving him a shout-out during my speech – he was proud to be mentioned.  Then he told me how grateful he was for Saint-Gobain’s support and that I needed to come back to see the house finished.

It’s really inspiring to meet young people like Leonard who are working so hard for many of the opportunities most of us take for granted. I am glad we are part of this program. And, I will definitely go back to see the project.

Thanks to all the Performance Plastics people that volunteered to work on the house that day.  Life’s Material Difference takes on a new meaning in that context.


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CertainTeed takes the insulation training to San Joaquin

CertainTeed has continued to strengthen their ongoing partnership with YouthBuild and extended over to the west coast by initiating an insulation training with YouthBuild San Joaquin. The training took place at the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) campus of the San Joaquin Building Futures Academy over the course of two days during the end of March.  YouthBuild San Joaquin students had the chance to work with Saint-Gobain/CertainTeed trainers as well as two contractors from Sequoia Insulation, who provided specialized training in how to utilize a number of innovative, green building materials and products. The training provided an amazing educational opportunity for the YouthBuild students to not only get hands on experience but also enriching, inspirational advice pertaining to their future careers and goals.

Overall, there were a total of 10 YouthBuild San Joaquin students and four program alumni that participated in the training. The first day was focused on teaching the students how to install CertainTeed’s new Sustainable Insulation, which is meant to increase indoor air quality through the use of a plant-based binder. Ted Winslow and Bruce Hartzell, national trainers from CertainTeed, conducted the training. As part of the training, students competed in three groups to install the insulation. At the end of the day, the trainers critiqued the results, and each team was able to achieve industry standards!


The variation of skill level of the new YouthBuild students in comparison to the YouthBuild veterans allowed each student to learn from one another in an engaging, educational way through friendly competition. The students were able to learn an important career skill, receive a CertainTeed Insulation Installation Certification to keep in their portfolios and most importantly—they had fun doing so!

Winslow recalled, “We have done a lot of these events, but this one really stepped it up a notch.  The contractor even provided us feedback that CertainTeed is the only insulation manufacturer they know of that is engaged with and sponsoring programs like YouthBuild. ”


Perhaps the most amazing part about working with organizations like YouthBuild is that the experience is rewarding for everyone involved. CertainTeed Product Manger Ted Winslow, who helped train the students on how to install CertainTeed insulation, explained that, “This type of training is the most rewarding because it provides us with an opportunity to give back to a community in need.  Seeing the excitement in the students faces and the pride after they receive their certificates is quite remarkable and I feel honored to have such an opportunity to provide them potentially with a second chance in life through getting involved in the construction trades.  The industry demand is there for skilled laborers, especially for insulation, and these types of programs provide them with the ability to set themselves up for a successful career for many years to come.”

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YouthBuild Philly students learn to install window film on their school windows

Blinding sun glare, intense heat and fatigued students are the everyday challenges Ms. Willa faces as she teaches her language arts class at the YouthBuild Charter school in Philadelphia. Sometimes, she even wears sunglasses in order to see her students while teaching her lessons. 

Thankfully, through our amazing partnership with YouthBuild and Saint-Gobain, we were able to find a solution to Ms. Willa’s problem….Solar Gard.

Solar Gard, a subdivision of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, stepped in and donated window film to the school, and provided students with an installation training in order to teach them how to install window film  on their very own classrooms. Students worked side-by-side with Energy Initiatives, a local Philadelphia installer of window film, to install Solar Gard’s Panorama Slate 10 film, which tints and reduces sun glare and solar heat.   

After students and the Energy Initiatives team began to install the film, throughout the progress, there was a distinct shift in room temperature and sun glare in the space.

Now the classrooms are cooler and hold just the right amount of natural light. 

Students made a difference in their learning environment, while learning a valuable skill. 

Following the install, Jon Nickless, Solar Gard Territory Sales Manager and Nick DeCarlo, Business Development Manager at Energy Initiatives, presented to students on the importance of showing up on time, being driven and doing great work on the job site. Students asked questions and received valuable career advice, that can be taken with them throughout the rest of their careers. 

Thank you, to Saint-Gobain, Solar Gard, Energy Initiatives, and YouthBuild for a great experience for everyone involved. Until next time!

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