Teens Go Platinum: High schoolers turn a rundown property into a LEED Platinum showpiece, with help from some friends

A newly rehabbed house is nothing noteworthy in Philadelphia. But when the bulk of the work is performed by teens and when the house is slated for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification — as in the case with the three-story house at Greene and West Sylvania streets in Germantown — that’s news. Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building materials company, and its locally-based subsidiary CertainTeed partnered with North Philadelphia’s YouthBuild Charter School to transform a once run-down property into a sustainable multi-family home with a Hybrid Insulation System, reflective roof and many other green features.
LEED certifications — especially Platinum — are rare for rehabbed residential spaces, both because of financial constraints and because so many resources go into a gutted renovation. The materials and time donated by Saint-Gobain helped make this LEED certification possible. “Going in, we hoped to achieve Gold,” says Pinkney. “But once we really got into this project, we wanted to go that extra mile to achieve Platinum.”
The house is more than a feather in Philadelphia’s eco-friendly cap. According to Pinkney, the 40 students who worked on the partnership learned valuable skills and professional training that they can take back into their communities — an investment that will benefit Philadelphia’s future developments.
Story by Emily Kovach