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SageGlass helps New Orleans charter school create a greener, healthier learning environment

SageGlass & Saint-Gobain donate dynamic glass and expertise as part of USGBC Louisiana's Green School Challenge

Oct. 16, 2014

Electronically-tintable SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, was donated to and installed at the Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, helping a high-achieving school in one of the city’s more under-resourced school districts become a working model of green building efficiency. 

SageGlass dynamic glass is one of a number of advanced building technologies donated by Saint-Gobain and other companies as part of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Louisiana Chapter’s Louisiana Green School Challenge – a program that aims to educate the public about the benefits of green building and environmental stewardship by participation in hands-on, experiential projects.

Benjamin Franklin High School, which was chosen as the Green School Showcase and suffered significant damage during Hurricane Katrina, was one of nine winning schools out of 40 who competed in the challenge. Located in the Gentilly area of New Orleans, roughly 50% of the school was damaged by two feet of water which stood for 30 days after the storm. SageGlass is part of more than $150,000 in green building products donated to the Benjamin Franklin school renovation.  

The school will be available for tours as a live featured “case study” this week as part of a “New Orleans Green Schools Event” during Greenbuild 2014, the world’s largest green building conference and expo dedicated to sustainable building practices, education and technology.

“The Green Building Challenge has both practical and aspirational implications,” said Erin Ryerson-Hines who is heading up the program and is a designer at VergesRome Architects as well as host chair of Greenbuild this year. “First, we can create a school environment that’s more conducive to learning while saving energy, resources and money. More importantly, by exposing children to the issues of sustainability now, we can help raise a generation of environmentally-conscious adults. We are grateful to SageGlass and Saint-Gobain for their generous donations of advanced green building products.”

Nine SageGlass devices were used to replace a south-facing wall of fixed ribbon windows on the second and third floors of the school that were causing significant sun glare and heat gain problems. Prior to SageGlass, the HVAC systems struggled to cool these rooms, and students had to work in drearier classrooms because the shades were constantly closed.

SageGlass is advanced dynamic glass that maximizes daylight and outdoor views in buildings while controlling glare and heat gain, without having to use blinds or shades. While Benjamin Franklin High School is already one of the nation’s highest-ranking public schools, research suggests dynamic glass can help further improve its achievement record. Numerous studies have shown that providing abundant natural light and a connection to the outdoors results in higher student and teacher performance, attitudes and alertness. The classrooms retrofitted with SageGlass will also serve as a living teaching lab on sustainability and high-performance building technologies. 

­SageGlass and other Saint-Gobain divisions are part of a donor network of architectural, engineering and construction experts and product manufacturers that helped the school complete the classroom retrofit. In addition to SageGlass, the classrooms will be optimized acoustically with advanced ceiling tiles and wall panels from CertainTeed, a Saint-Gobain company.

“Getting students and teachers involved in environmentally-sound practices can lower operating costs, improve indoor learning spaces and positively impact lives for years to come,” said Derek Malmquist, vice president of marketing at SAGE. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support the Green Schools Challenge and give our team the experience of working on such an impactful project in the local community.”

About SageGlass 
SageGlass®, a product of Saint-Gobain, is advanced dynamic glass that can be electronically tinted or cleared to optimize daylight and improve the human experience in buildings. SageGlass manages the sunlight and heat that enter a building, significantly reducing energy consumption while improving people’s comfort and well-being. It can reduce a building’s cooling load by 20% and HVAC requirements up to 30%. It is a smarter, more elegant solution than conventional sun controls such as mechanical window shades, blinds and louvers. With SageGlass you can control sunlight and glare without shades or blinds while maintaining the view and connection to the outdoors. SageGlass is manufactured in Faribault, Minn., in the heart of “the Silicon Valley of the window industry,” and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saint-Gobain of Paris, the world’s largest building materials company.

About Saint-Gobain in North America
Saint-Gobain 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 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.

Recognized as a 2009 and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Saint-Gobain earned the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 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.       

About Saint-Gobain
In 2015, Saint-Gobain is celebrating its 350th anniversary, 350 reasons to believe in the future. Backed by its experience and its capacity to continuously innovate, Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction market, designs, manufactures and distributes high-performance and building materials providing innovative solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection. With 2014 sales of $54.6 billion, Saint-Gobain operates in 64 countries and has over 180,000 employees. For more information about Saint-Gobain, visit https://www.saint-gobain.com/en and the twitter account @saintgobain