Making its headquarters building more energy-efficient, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. in downtown Pittsburgh has unveiled North America’s largest
Making its headquarters building more energy-efficient, PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. in downtown Pittsburgh has unveiled North America’s largest green wall. Reinforced concrete masonry supports for the 2,380-sq.-ft., soil-based structure, whose mounting was achieved with a stainless steel bracketing-and-panel system anchored directly into One PNC Plaza’s masonry exterior.
Comparable in size to a doubles tennis court, the south-facing installation features nearly 15,000 regional plants, including ferns, sedums, and brass buttons, growing into what the owner deems living art. Varying shades of green form the company logo against a darker background whose curving lines are echoed throughout the wall design.
The installation comprises 602 aluminum panels, each 2-ft.-sq. unit holding 24 plants. According to the wall designer, Rochester, N.Y.-based Green Living Technologies, LLC, a single panel can offset the carbon footprint of one person a day. Moreover, like a green roof, in effect, the vertical garden will help cool the 30-story PNC building as it removes air pollutants.
CLIMBING THE WALLS
As ÎgreenÌ roofs become increasingly common in mainstream construction, their vertical counterparts Û ÎgreenÌ walls Û also stand to gain ground. Few would dispute the value of green-wall installations; however, the relative merits of particular systems may be open to discussion. PNC wall designer Green Living Technologies, LLC (GLT) cites the benefits of its green wall design.
- GLT’s aluminum and stainless steel construction enables recycling and eliminates expansion and contraction. Systems using plastic introduce the potential of warping and deformation in the heat, plus cracking in the cold.
- GLT panel configurations include a minimum 3-in. depth and standard 4- and 6-in. depths to accommodate deeper-rooted plants like vegetables and grasses. The standard 6- _ 4-in. cell configuration incorporates technology that allows free water flow and unlimited root migration, preventing root rot and root-bound plants typical of shallower systems.
- GLT’s mounting technology includes one piece of specified hardware every 16 inches on center, secured and waterproofed in one step. Minimum half-inch spacing from the mounting surface promotes free air and water flow behind the wall.
- GLT oversight and direct partnership with its manufacturing facility ensures quality control and continued development. That arrangement offers custom design and manufacturing, curvatures, powder coating, detailed dimensions, laser engraving and finer metal finishes.