Saint-Gobain announced its support of the 2011 Solar Decathlon team from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and University of Massachusetts Lowell.

VALLEY FORGE, Pa. – Saint-Gobain announced its support of the 2011 Solar Decathlon team from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Known as Team Massachusetts, the students will compete for the first time in The U.S.  Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, a biennial event that challenges collegiate teams from around the world to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.

As a lead sponsor, Saint-Gobain has donated a robust mix of more than 30 building products, largely from its key subsidiary CertainTeed Corporation, North America’s leading manufacturer of exterior and interior building products, as well as from its other businesses: Saint-Gobain Abrasives, Saint-Gobain ADFORS, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, and Norandex. In addition to product support, the company offered building science expertise to assist Team Massachusetts in constructing a house that adjusts to a homeowner’s shifting needs, environment, and economic state.

“We are inspired by Team Massachusetts’ efforts and share its vision that we should collectively seek to expect more from our buildings – making them more efficient, durable, sustainable and healthy,” said Gilles Colas, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Corporation. “We embrace the opportunity to help advance the team’s goals of building a super-efficient home of the future by providing them with a wide range of innovative products available today from the Saint-Gobain family of companies.”

As Team Massachusetts set out to build an ultra-efficient house that could effectively compete against some of the best student teams from across the globe, the team recognized Saint-Gobain and its family of companies could help enhance its efficiency goals.

“We are grateful to Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed for their generous support including products and expertise,” said Spencer Culhane, an architecture student at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and the project manager for Team Massachusetts. “In identifying and selecting our lead sponsors, it was critical that our partners share in our belief that efficient technology and passive strategies are in fact attainable when building a home today, and we found this with Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed.”

Products selected to help Team Massachusetts achieve its energy efficiency, sustainability and affordability goals include:

CertaSpray™ Foam Insulation from CertainTeed is sprayed into a building cavity and quickly expands to fill openings that may potentially leak air. The foam insulation provides an effective seal, which reduces energy loss and improves indoor air quality.

In the case of the 4D Home, CertainTeed recommended that Team Massachusetts implement a hybrid insulation system that combines four inches of CertaSpray Foam on the backside of the home’s sheathing with CertainTeed’s OPTIMA® Fiberglass Insulation filling the remainder of the cavity. This approach delivers an R-value that is almost equivalent to a passive house at a significant cost savings compared to a foam-only approach.

A number of products used inside the 4-D Home are helping to enhance the indoor environment quality (IEQ), including:

CertainTeed Fiber Cement Backer Board retains the rigidity of cement, but its fiber components make the board  much lighter and more flexible than traditional all cement backer board. The board’s dense, non-porous surface make it superb for moisture resistance, and it is also made of 40% post-consumer recycled content.

CertainTeed Diamondback Tile Backer is gypsum-based so it is lighter and less brittle, which helps to prevent joint cracking. And, because it is reinforced with glass instead of paper, it too is mold resistant, making it ideal for the kitchen and bathroom walls inside the 4D Home.

A number of products from the FibaTape® line from Saint-Gobain ADFORS were also used to boost the indoor environment quality. Unlike traditional paper tape which is susceptible to mold growth, FibaTape is made of fiberglass offering superior mold resistance.

While the environment inside the home is essential, Team Massachusetts will also be evaluated in the Decathlon competition on the attractiveness of the home. To help in this effort, the team turned to solutions from CertainTeed that are both aesthetic and functional:

CertainTeed WeatherBoards™ Fiber Cement Siding looks and feels more like real wood than any other fiber cement siding on the market. Made using a combination of fly ash, Portland cement, wood fiber and specialty additives, the enhanced formula creates an environmentally friendly and durable product with a high recycled content.

Team Massachusetts selected the synthetic decking CertainTeed EverNew® LT Cellular PVC Decking Line because it combined the desired look of exotic hardwood decking but without the costly, time-consuming maintenance that natural wood requires.

Team Massachusetts and 18 other collegiate teams will display their homes on the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23 to Oct. 2, 2011. Open to the public free of charge, visitors can tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money.

For more information, visit