With dwindling energy sources and concerns about global warming and climate change looming large, architecture firms are trying hard to come up with designs that have less carbon footprint that comparable buildings built decades ago. Working on the same lines architecture firm Gensler has moved away from traditional closed air-conditioned building designs and have come up with a radical new design for the Tower at PNC Plaza. The tower, built for PNC Financial Services Group, aims to exceed LEED Platinum standards and also promote a healthy indoor workspace with the inclusion of the latest in building technology.
The 800,000sqf building will cost a whopping $240 million and will feature an all-new “breathing” design. The 33-story glass tower will have plenty of access to daylight and fresh air and hence will reduce a considerable amount of energy. The workspaces will be located near windows, allowing employees to work for more of the year using natural daylight. The tower will also include a double-skin façade consisting of two panes of glass. The façade will also feature operable doors and windows to allow the employees to let in fresh air without making use of the HVAC system. A solar chimney will also be integrated that pulls air through the open windows, which then travels across the floors, is heated and then exhaled through the roof shaft.
The tower also aims to reduce water consumption by harvesting rainwater and including low-flow fixtures. Moreover, gray and black water will be recycled whenever possible to further reduce the use of freshwater. The designers are also considering to make use of fuel cells, solar panels, geothermal systems or other alternative energy generation systems to further reduce the tower’s carbon emissions. Gizmag reports that construction is expected to be complete by 2015 and the design team envisions that the tower will consume less than 50 percent of the energy a typical office building does, saving PNC at least 30 percent on its energy bills.