The building, designed by Gensler is the Pittsburgh headquarters of American financial services giants, PNC. "When we started this project, we aimed at being the greenest skyrise in the world," says Mike Gilmore, director of design and construction services for PNC.
One sustainable design element of the project was designing a natural ventilation system that would stretch up all 33 stories. The building is wrapped in a double layered facade that when the temperate and humidity are at the right level and the air pollution is low outside, the outer windows automatically open. The inner facade contains vents that allows the fresh air to flow inside. For those hot summer days, a solar chimney on the roof opens up and draws hot air out of the building. The roof works in winter to collect heat and send it through the building via a system of fans. The double facade also insulates the building, trapping close to three feet of air between layers and reducing the need for heating or cooling.
It doesn't stop there - the building is covered with blinds, automatically adjusting to let in the sun and block out heat. 92 percent of the office space gets natural light and artificial lighting only turns on when sensors detect that it is truly dim inside. Also featuring an on-site water treatment plant to catch rainwater and recycle throughout the building.
PNC have been experimenting with greener buildings for over a decade, now boasting more than 250 LEED-certified projects in America. The office tower in Pittsburgh is expected to exceed the highest sustainability rating - LEED Platinum.