Green tower: PNC's new headquarters will be an eco-attraction
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It's not every year that plans are unveiled for a 40-story office tower in Downtown Pittsburgh, let alone one that expects to be the world's most environmentally friendly.
Yet that's what PNC Financial Services Group did Monday in taking the wraps off the Tower at PNC Plaza on Wood Street between Fifth and Forbes avenues. Demolition on the rundown half-block will begin this fall, with construction starting next year and completion in 2015.
The $400 million project, which will require no public subsidy, says several things about PNC. As one of the nation's major banks, it wants a corporate headquarters with technology and office functions that are state of the art. As a major energy consumer, it wants a workplace that is efficient, responsible and a model for other employers. And, as a civic leader, it wants to show its commitment to Pittsburgh and the region's progress.
The glass-facade Tower at PNC Plaza will have 800,000 square feet of space, house 3,000 employees, provide 300 underground parking spaces and create 2,500 construction jobs. At the same time, it will seek to exceed the top rating for Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council. The skyscraper's glass skin will favor sunlight over artificial light and an engineering team's exploration of fuel cells, geothermal systems and solar panels could further cut the use of fossil fuels.
All this will enable PNC's next development to have a huge impact on the Golden Triangle while making a smaller footprint on the planet. When the new tower opens, it will join the bank's 125 LEED-certified projects nationwide and become its third major LEED-rated building Downtown.
A Pittsburgh-based company that earned a reputation for handling green is now building a name for going green. Hard to imagine -- but a joy to comprehend -- in a place that used to be a smoky old steel town.
First Published May 25, 2011 12:00 am