YouthBuild students complete rehab -- for LEED platinum

YouthBuild Philly students with Dorothy Stoneman, CEO and Founder of YouthBuild USA, and John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed, in front of the Germantown rehab.

The "before" photos show rooms strewn with trash and other refuse -- old records, a basketball, unidentifiable garbage.

Portions of the ceiling -- what's left of it -- are falling. The windows are gone.

Into this mess walked students from the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School.

About 18 months later, they walked back out, having gutted and rehabbed the house at 4620 Greene Street in Germantown into a place so green it rated LEED platinum certification -- the highest available. More than 125 students got their hands on the project.

The home will now be sold to a family of low or moderate income. The owners will then be able to get additional income by renting out the second portion of the home.

The Philadelphia project is the first to be finished under the three-year 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, according to a press release.  The program provides out-of-school young adults with the opportunity to build energy-efficient and healthy homes in their neighborhoods and gain green job skills while earning their GEDs or high school diplomas, it said.

It continues:

The partnership with the Saint-Gobain Corporation Foundation is a first of its kind for the Philadelphia chapter and YouthBuild USA nationally. “Never before have we had the advantage to partner with an organization that not only shared our passion for green building and our students’ professional development, but also donated a breadth of energy-efficient building products and technical expertise from their most knowledgeable building scientists,” said Simran Sidhu, Executive Director of YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. “In the spirit of true partnership, Saint-Gobain made it possible for our students to earn the most prestigious level of sustainable building certification – an invaluable learning experience for our students.”

The Saint-Gobain family of companies, led by CertainTeed, the company’s renowned building materials division, provided nearly $25,000 in energy-efficient building products to the project. In addition, employees from Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed’s Valley Forge headquarters spent nearly 500 hours of time to ensure the home’s timely completion and LEED certification. CertainTeed’s industry-leading building scientists played an especially valuable role as they advised the students and other project partners on the use of energy-efficient product technology and passive strategies to build a sustainable, affordable home.

John Crowe, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed, said, “We’ve been part of the fabric of Philadelphia since 1948, and today it’s more important than ever that we channel the strength of our employees and the innovative building products they’ve created to help Philadelphians live sustainably while also securing our city’s future green workforce. In YouthBuild we have found a partner that made both aspirations possible.”