Solar Innovations, Inc. was sought to provide a key component in the Tower at PNC Plaza in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team of architects, designers, and engineers behind the planning of the project had prescribed rigorous energy saving and environmental goals for the 33-story, 800,000-sq. ft. tower. The general principle behind the design was to create the “greenest skyrise in the world.” Tangible results would be measured by energy use, which was targeted to reduce consumption by 50% in comparison to typical office buildings, and by achieving LEED Platinum certification. The major component to achieve these goals was a double-skin façade coupled to a thermal chimney. This would also provide allow fresh air exchanges for the occupants. Solar Innovations, Inc. was asked to provide the inner façade of this system, which would separate the public corridor from the office spaces. The inner façade required operable sections for air exchanges and entry, excellent thermal performance, LEED qualifications, and aesthetic appeal.
Solar Innovations, Inc. has a long tradition of meeting high performance and environmental requirements for projects with its wide variety of custom fenestration products. Its patent-pending Sliding Wood Façade System was designed specifically for the Tower at PNC to meet all of the stringent design considerations. The White Oak was sourced from Western Pennsylvania and FSC-certified, which qualified it for multiple LEED points. The wood was chosen for its thermal performance in addition to its aesthetic warmth. The finish used on the wood was a clear, ICA sealer that was applied in a three-coat process. The curtain wall system had integrated sliding and stacking façade door systems, which provided the additional function of passively regulating the heat and fresh air exchanges between the office space and exterior corridor. Finally, an insulated glass with Low E coating was chosen specifically for this application to provide the correct amount of light transmission and solar heat gain for day lighting and heating requirements.