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Team USA-Germany Receives Saint-Gobain Sponsorship for 2014 Solar Decathlon Europe Competition

Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies, announces today it will be the lead sponsor of Team USA-Germany, a group of cross-continental architecture, design and engineering students from Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University and University of Applied Sciences Erfurt (Germany), who are participating in the biennial Solar Decathlon Europe Competition.

The team is one of 20 across the globe to participate in the competition, which challenges college students to design and construct homes powered exclusively by solar energy that are innovative, affordable, energy-efficient and attractive.

The students have completed the design process and over the next five months, the core team of 50 students will build an 800-square-foot house called Techstyle Haus in Cranston, R.I., that is completely powered by the sun and performs to the Passive House Standard, the highest international standard for energy efficiency. Once completed, the home will be partially disassembled and shipped to the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, France, where the house will be judged in 10 categories during the two-week competition, June 27-July 14, 2014.

As a Terrawatt-level sponsor, Saint-Gobain will provide critical resources to the team in the form of financial support, building material donations and technical expertise totaling more than $100,000. The home will feature building products and materials from five of Saint-Gobain’s subsidiaries, including Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, Isover, Saint-Gobain Glass, CertainTeed Corporation, Saint-Gobain ADFORS and Lapeyre.

“For nearly 350 years, Saint-Gobain has created and manufactured building materials and products that make a material difference in the way people live in their built environment. We’re proud to sponsor Team USA-Germany and foster their project that strives to challenge how the building industry, design community and public view sustainable living,” said John Crowe, president and CEO of Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed Corporation. “We’re looking forward to seeing the completed project displayed in the competition’s location in Versailles, steps away from where Saint-Gobain supplied the glass for the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles nearly 350 years ago.”

The students are the first-ever Solar Decathlon team to construct a house with an enclosure entirely made of textiles. Saint-Gobain materials will be used to build the enclosure consisting of Sheerfill® II Architectural Membrane with EverClean® Photocatalytic Topcoat (Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics), which is a fabric combined with a coating that eliminates surface dirt and purifies the atmosphere by removing pollutants. In addition, a range of insulation solutions (CertainTeed Corporation) and VARIO KM Duplex UV Climate Membrane (Isover) will be used in the home’s enclosure. While commonly used in construction, these materials have never before been paired together to form an entirely soft house that is airtight and highly insulated.

The team is also incorporating Saint-Gobain’s Triple Glazed Climatop Windows (Saint-Gobain Glass), which will help them achieve their architectural and design goals and enable them to let in passive solar heat during winter months, and Lighting Fabric ONIRYS (Saint-Gobain's ADFORS), a fabric that integrates fiber optic lighting. The students are also receiving kitchen and bathroom fixtures (Lapeyre) for Techstyle Haus.

“Through Saint-Gobain’s sponsorship, Team USA-Germany is receiving much more than financial support. We’re receiving unprecedented partnership in the form of expertise from Saint-Gobain’s most knowledgeable building scientists combined with building products that will help us construct the first-ever Solar Decathlon project made of textiles,” said Kim Dupont-Madinier, a team member and student at Rhode Island School of Design. “On behalf of my teammates, we thank Saint-Gobain for their generous sponsorship and are excited to reveal our project to the world this summer that demonstrates how sustainable materials can transform the way we live.”

About Saint-Gobain in North America

Saint-Gobain, the world’s largest building materials company, 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 265 locations in North America and approximately 19,000 employees. In the United States and Canada, Saint-Gobain reported sales of approximately $7.9 billion in 2013.

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 and 2013 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 and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

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