Pittsburgh’s glittering skyline gains another jewel with PNC’s elegant new headquarters, a $400 million “green” skyscraper at Wood Street and Fifth Avenue that has its own water recycling and treatment system, an indoor park and a smart chandelier that monitors and reports energy use .
Under construction since 2012, The Tower at PNC Plaza is nearing completion, and the tenants started moving in last week. At 545 feet, it’s not nearly the tallest building in Pittsburgh, but it’s undeniably the most cutting edge.
Two layers of glass cover the 33-floor facade, constructed so the building can “breathe” and provide its own ventilation for nearly half of the year. It is expected to consume only half the energy of a typical office building and 77 percent less water.
The tower is a fitting home for the headquarters of PNC Financial Services Group. The largest bank in Pittsburgh and the seventh-largest in the nation, it was the first major U.S. bank to build branches to U.S. Green Building Council standards. Its Firstside Center, which opened in 2000 on the banks of the Monongahela, has 11-foot windows that provide 90 percent of workers an outside view and was the first U.S. financial institution to be LEED-certified by the Green Building Council.
The tower is a grand continuation of the bank’s efforts to create model workplaces with minimal cost to the environment. Once again, PNC has done right by Pittsburgh. It may have locations in 19 states, but its investment in Pittsburgh shows PNC’s heart remains here.