PNC Place, PNC Financial Services Group’s new 12-story office tower in downtown Washington, D.C., recently received LEED Platinum certification from the USGBC. It is the 104th building in PNC’s portfolio to achieve LEED certification and PNC’s first building to be certified at the Platinum level.
Located 500 yards from the White House, PNC Place was designed by Gensler and will serve as PNC’s new regional headquarters. In addition to PNC offices, the building will house retail and office tenants and a PNC bank branch. The 350,000-square-foot building includes a 15,000-square-foor eco-skygarden on half of its roof, a three-story climate wall in the building’s lobby, a below-grade indoor living wall, and a high-performance façade.
Entering the building off of the corner of H Street NW and 17th Street NW, visitors are welcomed into a light-filled double-height lobby whose defining feature is a three-story climate wall. The wall, which features running water, spans the two-story height of the lobby and then extends down one floor to an exposed below-grade exhibit space. There, a green wall lines the underground concourse. The lobby’s climate wall serves double duty: In addition to a visual attraction, the constantly falling water passing over the steel mesh framework of the wall should cool and dehumidify the lobby in the summer and add humidity in the winter. Also located below grade is a fitness facility and locker rooms for building tenants, as well as underground parking.
Transparency was one key design focus. The building’s east and west facades are wrapped with high-performance glass and the southern façade also is outfitted with exterior sun shades to reduce heat gain while still letting in natural light. To bring in more daylight while still abiding by the District of Columbia’s building height restrictions, Gensler pulled back the building perimeter and built a porchlike extension. As a result, on each floor, perimeter offices extend out past the perimeter columns and feature nine-foot-high floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
More than half of the building’s roof space is planted with sedum to control and filter stormwater. Stormwater is filtered into a cistern on the roof and waste water from the building’s air-conditioning system is treated to irrigate the green roof. In all, the building’s water system was designed to filter, recycle, and reuse all water that enters the building. High-efficiency plumbing fixtures were specified and are expected to use half the water of traditional buildings.
In terms of energy, it is expected that at least 35 percent of the building’s energy will come from renewable sources and the combination of efficient central plant equipment and a waste heat-recovery system for the building exhaust system is expected to reduce building energy use by 20 percent.