Green roofs are a growing trend in the U.S., with buildings as diverse as the California Academy of Sciences, Minneapolis' Target Center and the New York Mets' Citi Field adopting roofs topped with dirt and living plants. But PNC Financial Services Group is taking the lead on green walls, with the largest Green Living Wall in North America scheduled to be constructed on the south side of the bank's Pittsburgh headquarters.
When completed in September, the 2,380-square-foot wall--outfitted with 602 panels of soil--will look much like a painting constructed out of regional plants. The wall will do more than just add aesthetically to the PNC building--it will also provide shade to surrounding sidewalks, absorb sound, and cool the surface of the south wall by 70 to 80 degrees.
All materials, including hardware, plants, and installers are being sourced from a 500 mile radius around Pittsburgh, making the wall an inherently local project. And while one would imagine that such a large covering of living plants requires plentiful water, the wall might just need 15 minutes of watering a week from an internally controlled irrigation system.
PNC hasn't revealed how much the wall will cost or if the investment can be recouped from energy efficiency increases in its headquarters, but the bank is clearly more interested in extending a "green" image of its brand than making money on the venture--PNC has already constructed more LEED-certified green buildings than any other company in the world.