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Philly Students Turned These Two Abandoned Properties into Eco-Friendly Homes

They’ll be sold to families of low- to -moderate income

A North Philly neighborhood is on a mission to put the "nice" back in Nicetown, and it’s off to a promising start with the renovation of two run-down homes on West Wingohocking Street.

Hundreds of students, volunteers, community members, and city officials gathered on for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of two abandoned properties at 2006 and 2008 Wingohocking Street that have been transformed into green-friendly homes and are expected to achieve U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum certification.

What makes the transformation all the more impressive is that it’s the result of 180 students’ hard work.

For the past three years, 180 students of Youth Build have worked with building materials company Saint-Gobain to rehab the properties and turn them into sustainable homes. The program aims to provide former out-of-school young adults with green job skills while allowing them to earn their high school diplomas or its equivalent.

"Your investment in this home is an investment in the future of this city," Michael DiBerardinis, managing director for the City of Philadelphia, told the group of Youth Build students.

St. Gobain provided the students with $42,000 worth of sustainable materials, including hybrid insulation systems that improve sound control and reduce energy consumption; air-purifying drywall; and roofing materials that are reflective, among others.

A tour of the properties revealed one complete home, while the other is still undergoing renovations. The plan is to sell the two homes to first-time homebuyers of low- to moderate-income.