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PNC Firstside Center

Project Overview

PNC Firstside Center was built on a brownfield site in the central business district of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Project Owner: 
PNC Financial Services Group
500 First Avenue
Pittsburgh  Pennsylvania  15219
United States
Submitting Architect: 
LDA - L.D. Astorino Companies
Project Completion Date: 
September, 2000
Project Site Context/Setting: 
Brownfield Site
Project Type: 
Office – 100,001 or greater
Building or Project Gross Floor Area: 
647,000 square feet
Other Building Description: 
Total project cost at time of completion, land excluded: 

Regional/Community Design

The PNC Firstside Center is located on a brownfield site, a former B&O Railway terminal, along the Monongahela River. Development of this site is a considerable step toward the revitalization of downtown Pittsburgh.

Over half of PNC's employees utilize public transportation to get to work. A Port Authority bus stop and light-rail T station are located within walking distance of the Center. PNC is also within easy access of the Eliza Furnace Rail-Trail, used by walkers, runners, and bicyclists. To encourage responsible transportation, PNC provides bicycle storage racks, shower and changing facilities, and on-site electrical recharging stations for hybrid-powered vehicles.

Land Use & Site Ecology

Development Impacts
Limit parking area

Integration with Site Resources
Use light-colored pavement to reduce heat island effect

Low-Impact Siting
Select building sites that make use of existing infrastructure

Light & Air

An entryway water sculpture and piped-in "white noise" compensate for the added noise of an open working environment. Floor-to-ceiling walls were avoided whenever possible to increase daylighting and encourage interaction among employees.

PNC recognizes value in aesthetics and included, in addition to the water sculpture and trough fountain, the display of artwork throughout the building. Designers also recognized the visual opportunities of the location, utilizing the natural beauty of the Monongahela River.

Water Cycle

Low-Water-Use Fixtures
-Use low-flow toilets

Irrigation Systems
-Use water-efficient irrigation fixtures
-Use automatic controls to improve efficiency and effectiveness of irrigation system

Energy Flows & Energy Future

A unique, hybrid air-distribution system was developed to provide improved control and comfort, while providing flexibility, simplicity, energy conservation, and lifecycle cost benefits. Ventilation air is distributed beneath the raised floor with local diffusers that occupants can control. Overhead variable air volume units recirculate conditioned air for local needs and for more simplistic control. A building automation system monitors and regulates temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide concentrations. Outside air intakes are located away from loading areas and other sources of contamination.

The building was divided into five zones for all systems, each having a major vertical shaft element to service each floor. The extent of ductwork has been reduced to only these vertical shafts with air distributed horizontally in the underfloor plenum.

Commissioning coordinated all the building systems at the completion of construction to ensure efficient operation.

Exterior fixed sunshades were sized using computer modeling to reduce glare and heat gain. Solar devices control motor-operated interior shades.


Total pEUI: 
100 kBtu/sf/yr
Net pEUI: 
100 kBtu/sf/yr

Materials & Construction

Green Products Used
-Natural Linoleum Flooring

Other Information

Cost and Payback Analysis: 

Cost Data
Cost data in U.S. dollars as of date of completion.

-Total project cost (land excluded): $108,000,000

Numerous decisions were made using a two-year payback cutoff.

The real payback is expected in worker productivity and retention rates, the potential savings of which dwarf construction costs.

Rating System(s) Results: 
Rating System: 
U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1
Rating Date: 
Score or Rating Result: 
Silver (33 points)

Additional Images

Project Team and Contact Information

Primary Submission Contact: 
Elmer Burger, II, AIA
LDA - L.D. Astorino Companies
Pittsburgh  Pennsylvania
United States
Project Team: 
Role on TeamFirst NameLast NameCompanyLocation
Contractor Dino Persichetti Dick Corporation
Environmental building consultant Paladino Green Building Strategies

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