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Saint -Gobain Opens Research Expansion in Mass

August 3, 2009

$15 million investment adds 60 square feet

Saint-Gobain marked the completion of the expansion of its largest international research center with an opening ceremony in Northboro, MA last month. The $15 million expansion provides 60,0000 square feet of new laboratory, office and meeting space for 200 scientists and engineers involved in cutting-edge research into building materials, plastics, ceramics and abrasives, as well as the development of state-of-the-art technology to promote energy efficiency in buildings.

“The opening of this new building is symbolically very important to Saint-Gobain,” said Pierre-André de Chalendar, CEO of Saint-Gobain.“First and foremost, this investment underscores our commitment to research and development. We are determined to carry on investing in this area.That’s because innovation is central to our long-term business strategy.”

The Northboro site is the largest of Saint-Gobain’s four worldwide research centers, which together employ 3500 people.

The new building was designed by Boston architect Shepley When it is inspected later this year, the completed structure is expected to attain a Gold Rating in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED, placing it among the very few buildings in North America to qualify for this prestigious energy efficiency and sustainability rating.The building has also been designed to adhere to Saint-Gobain’s rigorous international energy efficiency standards for new company buildings.

Another special feature is the unprecedented use of Saint-Gobain’s own building products, particularly those of its subsidiary CertainTeed, which provided acoustical ceilings, gypsum wallboard, insulation, solar reflective roofing and foundation products.The window glass for new building has also been manufactured by Saint-Gobain.

The Northboro operation has been a major center for materials research since 1985.It joined Saint-Gobain in 1990 as part of the acquisition of Worcester-based Norton Company.In 2003, the site became Saint-Gobain’s main research location for high-performance plastics and coated abrasives, and since then has grown and expanded its activities to include research Saint-Gobain’s crystals and reinforcement businesses throughout the world.The 186,000-square-foot R&D Center is based in three buildings on a 26-acre site near I-290 in Northboro.The facility has approximately 330 employees from 27 different countries.