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Saint-Gobain and Greentown Labs: Top 10 Highlights of our Partnership

This guest post is brought to you by Greentown Labs’ long-time partner, Saint-Gobain, as part of Greentown’s #Greentown10 campaign celebrating its community’s first decade of impact.

Back in 2014, I was first introduced to Greentown Labs by attending a corporate innovation day event where I had the opportunity to hear pitches from a variety of startups. The curiosity, enthusiasm, and commitment to solve the world’s sustainability challenges from the startups was motivating and exciting! In fact, it was during this event that I met the teams from CrowdComfort and Building Envelope Materials, both of which we began working with shortly thereafter and are still working with today!

From our first engagement in 2014 to my first walk through of Greentown’s expanded headquarters in Somerville, MA, I have continued to take great pride in our partnership. The entrepreneurs have so much passion and energy, and I always seem to discover something new, meet someone new—and always leave re-energized by what’s to come!

At Saint-Gobain, our purpose is to “Make the World a Better Home,” but we can’t do it alone. We need partners like Greentown Labs to help us respond to the key challenges facing humanity, including climate change, the protection of resources, and inclusion.  

And so, in that spirit of collaboration and in honor of Greentown’s #Greentown10 campaign, let’s look back at the Top 10 moments of Saint-Gobain and Greentown Labs’ partnership, and how we have worked together to make the world a better home for all of us.

  1. 2014: Our first engagement was through a corporate innovation day—a half day event with several Saint-Gobain executives on-site at Greentown Labs. This featured a tour of Greentown’s prototyping lab, presentations about the regional cleantech ecosystem, and presentations from many of Greentown’s member companies, including Building Envelope Materials. This meeting sparked a fruitful partnership! Building Envelope Materials has been engaged with CertainTeed/Saint-Gobain since 2014 to develop new materials for its Pinhole Insulation™ technology and for CertainTeed’s related COMFORTFILL™ technology. Together, we have insulated about 30 buildings.
  1. 2014: We announced our partnership in Paris as part of former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Massachusetts-France Innovation Partnership Mission, which was “aimed at strengthening the state’s relationship with France in order to create economic opportunities throughout Massachusetts.”
  1. 2014: Saint-Gobain/CertainTeed installed an environmental testing chamber within Greentown’s prototyping lab which has been a valuable resource for Greentown members over the years, providing a unique and dynamic testing environment for their technologies. 
  1. 2015: We hosted the French Ambassador to the U.S. at Greentown to learn more about our partnership and the CertainTeed environmental test chamber. 
  1. 2016: Saint-Gobain’s Chairman and CEO, Pierre-André de Chalendar, visited Greentown; At Pierre-Andre’s invitation, Emily Reichert spoke at Les Rencontres Economiques d’Aix-en Provence
  1. 2018: The Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation opened with significant support from Saint-Gobain—Saint-Gobain is a founding partner of Greentown’s expanded headquarters and provided $1 million worth of building materials to bring the building to fruition. I shared remarks at the Grand Opening event alongside Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. 
  1. 2019: Greentown Labs and NOVA by Saint-Gobain announced the InNOVAte 2019 Challenge in January, seeking innovations to disrupt the built environment value chain. Startup participants were selected for the challenge in June 2019. 
  1. 2019: Saint-Gobain was announced as Greentown’s Town Green Presenting Partner at DEMO Day alongside Senator Edward Markey.
  1. 2019: Saint-Gobain opened its Materials Library within Greentown’s prototyping lab which provides Greentown members with samples of the various coatings, plastics, ceramics, and more that are under Saint-Gobain’s product lines.
  1. 2020: Saint-Gobain expanded its partnership with Greentown and became a Founding Partner of Greentown Houston, the organization’s first-ever out of state expansion!

And for an extra highlight, this year—2021—we were proud to have our InNOVAte Challenge featured within Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ (BEV) “Corporate Climate Action Playbook.” BEV is Bill Gates’ fund that supports innovations that will lead the world to net-zero emissions.

As we look forward to the next 10 years, I am confident that by combining our knowledge and technology we can ensure our planet is sustainable for generations to come.

Congratulations to Greentown on a very impressive, successful 10 years!

Minas Apelian is Vice President of Internal and External Venturing at Saint-Gobain.