PNC Green Wall

Designers: Kari Katzander (Mingo Design), Cenkner Engineering Associates, BD&E | City: Pittsburgh, PA | Project Type: green wall, green technology
Date Visited: 09.12.12
Location: 249 5th Ave., Ste. 30, Pittsburgh, PA
Size: 2,380 sq. ft
Official Opening Date: 2009

Located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, the PNC green wall is one of the largest green walls in the United States. At six-stories tall, this 2,380 sq. foot living wall is as large as two tennis courts! The living wall system is composed of 602 2×2 square panels–each of which contain 24 plants–that are anchored onto reinforced concrete masonry on the south facing wall. In total, that’s 14,500 plants to water!

To reduce irrigation needs, the plant palette consists of eight varieties of evergreen, mostly drought-tolerant plant species. The engineers also installed an internally controlled irrigation system to irrigate the plants with 15 minutes of watering per week. When the plants are fully saturated with water, the green wall can weigh up to 24 tons.

As with most green technology, the green wall helps the building cut down in energy costs by reducing building temperatures in the summer and providing an extra insulation layer in the winter.

Though some are critical of the fact that the green wall is a form of advertising, a green wall advertisement is preferable to the alternative: a big canvas advertisement whose sole benefactor is the corporation. PNC’s green wall not only helps clean the air and lower energy costs, but also adds a beautiful evergreen tapestry to the downtown district.

In additional to the green wall, PNC has funded the development of many other privately-owned, sustainable landmarks throughout Pittsburgh such as Firstside Park. In Summer 2015, PNC plans to complete construction on their new headquarters–across the street from its green wall–a LEED Platinum building that will vie for the title of world’s greenest Skyrise.

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