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PNC Plans ‘World’s Greenest Skyscraper’

The PNC Financial Services Group Inc. has announced that it plans to construct what it says will be the world’s most environmentally friendly skyscraper.

The Tower at PNC Plaza will be located on the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Wood Street in Pittsburgh, the same intersection where PNC has been headquartered for more than 150 years. Once complete in 2015, the roughly 40-story building will serve as PNC’s executive offices.

At about 800,000 square feet, the skyscraper would be PNC’s largest Pittsburgh building. Tentative plans call for 300 underground parking spaces, street level retail and green roofing. Erecting the planned $400 million tower should create 2,500 construction jobs, with 500 workers  on the site during peak building periods, PNC says.

Environmentally friendly features planned for the building include a double glass facade to enhance energy efficiency by allowing natural airflow to the building, in turn reducing cooling costs. Using sensors and metering, a high-efficiency heating and cooling system will deliver conditioned air to specific zones of the building, as needed.

The building will also be oriented to take advantage of sunlight in workspaces, reducing the need for artificial light during the day. The design team is also currently exploring fuel cells, solar panels, geothermal systems and other alternative power generation sources that will significantly reduce carbon emissions. The building’s green rooftops will collect rainwater and channel it for use in other parts of the structure, as well as reduce the heat gain associated with traditional rooftops, PNC says.

PNC will own the building and occupy all of the office space, with tenants in the retail spaces at street level. The project is being designed by the Pittsburgh office of Gensler, the design architects for both Three PNC Plaza and PNC Place. Pittsburgh-based PJ Dick will serve as construction manager and U.K.-based Buro Happold will be the engineering firm. Paladino & Company of Seattle serves as the green building consultant.

PNC says it has more newly constructed LEED-certified buildings than any company on Earth. It opened its first green building in 2000. At that time, the 650,000 square foot PNC Firstside Center, on Pittsburgh’s First Avenue, was the largest LEED-certified building in the world.

In 2010, PNC opened Three PNC Plaza, on Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh, one of the largest LEED-certified mixed-use buildings in the U.S. The financial company also recently completed its latest green office building in Washington, D.C. The LEED Platinum-certified PNC Place at 800 17th Street sits just blocks from the White House and serves as PNC’s regional headquarters in the capital.

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