PNC Tower Opens As City’s Newest And ‘Greenest’ Skyscraper

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh’s newest skyscraper opened on Thursday.

It’s PNC Tower at the corner of Fifth, Forbes, and Wood Streets. Costing $400 million with no government dollars, PNC makes a special claim for this building.

It’s 33 stories tall, airy and bright inside, but it’s the energy-efficient design that makes PNC Tower stand out, says PNC’s director of construction Mike Gilmore.

“It combines a bunch of systems that have been used around the world but never all in combination,” Gilmore told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

The end result is a building that consumes 50 percent less energy and 77 percent less water than most buildings.

“Once you exceed platinum, now you get into the bragging rights for the greenest building in the world,” added Gilmore.

Gilmore gave KDKA a tour, pointing out the double-skin glass facade that allows the building to breathe on its own naturally.

Delano: “This is what ventilates the building?”

Gilmore: “Yes. The air comes in the window behind you with screens — just air, no bugs — and on the inside row there are some louvres that open up and let air flow to the solar shaft.”

The solar shaft is a sun-heated open chimney in the middle of the building.

“When the louvres open, the air is drawn through,” said Gilmore.

That means low energy costs with natural ventilation at least 42 percent of the year.

Of course, PNC Tower is a place to work with window views reserved for employees, not the higher-up executives.

“We try to maximize the number of people who can see the outside world, as much natural daylight comes in, and people feel better about where the work if they can have a view to the outside.”

Workers in the 21st century — Millennials — don’t like being cooped up in any one space for long periods of time.

PNC apparently understands that, which is why they’ve created living rooms on every other floor in this building.

The employee dining area is also hard to beat with both inside and outside patio dining.

But the most spectacular views are from the five-story atrium indoor park on the 28th floor — rivaled only by an outdoor deck that allows a panoramic view — both of which are open to employees.

“Bring your laptop to do some work, or just take a quick break,” noted Gilmore.

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