Saint-Gobain's North American Headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has achieved LEED Platinum certification in 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. As a designer and manufacturer of high-performance building materials, Saint-Gobain utilized material innovations from its own product portfolio throughout the project. Knoll furniture also played a part in supporting the 277,00 square foot building's exceptional user comfort and indoor air quality.
The building, which also houses Saint-Gobain's largest construction brand, CertainTeed Corporation, opened in October 2015. Its LEED Platinum status is the highest benchmark that a building can achieve in the LEED system. LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—is a third-party performance-oriented system of certification, where projects pursue points across several categories of sustainable practices. These practices address site sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere considerations, materials and resources choices, indoor environmental air quality, and design innovations.
In a news release on July 12, Saint-Gobain described the new headquarters as a "living laboratory"—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."
Besides environmental sustainability considerations, the interior design also took employee workstyles into account. Jacobs Buildings & Infrastructure, the interiors firm, designed the workstations and supporting spaces to encourage employee collaboration, minimizing barriers "between newly co-located groups with flexible configurations, to encourage collaboration and inspire creativity."
The workplace planning includes open-concept office spaces, 116 collaborative spaces, and a cafeteria, as well as other less traditional amenities that support employee wellbeing. Knoll furniture was used throughout the workstation and cafeteria space.
Commenting on the announcement of LEED Platinum, Jacobs Building & Infrastructure Senior Vice President Randy Pierce said, "We are delighted to have played a major role in this exciting, landmark project for Saint-Gobain, as it celebrates its 350-year anniversary. This new building is a showcase for innovation and collaborative working spaces, providing a sustainable, healthy, comfortable and environmentally friendly facility for everyone who works at or visits the building. In partnering with Saint-Gobain we have been able to access the global Jacobs network to leverage our unique international interior design experience and expertise."
The cumulative effect of the new building design has yielded increased employee satisfaction and performance, according to the USGBC. One manager at CertainTeed Corporation told USGBC, "Our performance has increased 150 percent since last year."
As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Knoll is equipped to help organizations achieve LEED certification through the choices they make about their interior environments. There are numerous credits to which furniture can contribute. On most credits, furniture contributes to overall building materials, indoor environmental air quality, or overall LEED strategy. Knoll has experience working on numerous LEED projects across North America, including some of the company's own facilities, and frequently provides necessary certificates, calculations and supporting materials to the local LEED team.