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Sun, Shade And Air Help PNC Achieve A Net-Zero Energy Branch

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- PNC Bank announced today the opening of its new net-zero energy bank branch.  PNC expects this branch, which is the company's most energy-efficient, to use 50 percent less energy than a typical bank branch and exceed LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification.  The 4,900 square foot building is located at 1153 S. Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.

"Cutting energy consumption in a building by 50 percent compared to code and adding renewable generation requires corporate commitment and a strong eye toward strategy," said Michael Baechler, senior program manager at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.  "Over the past few years, PNC has taught the DOE and national labs how corporations can manage and benefit from a commitment to energy efficiency."

PNC has more newly constructed, LEED-certified buildings (119) than any company on Earth.  The Fort Lauderdale branch features innovative green technology and amenities, including 211 solar panels, a riverfront walking path for the public, paving designed to reduce rainwater runoff, high-efficiency LED lights and ENERGY STAR® appliances.   Many of these money-saving features will become standard in the next generation of PNC's green buildings.

"The net-zero energy model demonstrates how a commitment to innovation can cut costs and increase efficiency," said Gary Saulson, PNC's director of Corporate Real Estate.  "We expect the net-zero energy branch to reduce expenses, spur local business growth and inspire other businesses to adopt green building practices."

The branch will also include:

  • SOLAR ENERGY:  The branch is powered by the sun using the most efficient photovoltaic (solar) panels on the commercial market.
  • DAYLIGHT & OCCUPANCY SENSORS:  The branch uses photo-sensors that control dimmable light fixtures as natural sunlight increases and occupancy sensors that prompt lights and computer monitors to shut off automatically in unoccupied spaces.  
  • DIRECT CURRENT (DC) POWER:  Solar panels send energy from the sun to a DC ceiling grid system that powers highly-efficient LED interior lighting.  This direct transfer of energy prevents the energy loss that would normally occur when converting DC to alternating current (AC).
  • RESOURCE CONSERVATION:  PNC used local and recycled resources for building structure and wall materials, as well as interior finishes.  Products made with more than 80 percent recycled material were also selected for all ceiling tiles and walls.
  • NATIVE PLANTS AND IRRIGATION:  The landscape design is comprised of native Florida species, minimizing irrigation needs.  Natural drainage channels lined with plants filter out pollutants and permit ground absorption, diverting much of the site's stormwater from municipal sewer systems.
  • SOLAR SHADING:  A canopy covers the building's southern exposure to reflect sun during the hottest part of the day without preventing natural daylight from entering the building, resulting in reduced cooling costs.
  • WATER EFFICIENCY:  Through highly-efficient water fixtures, the branch consumes 40 percent less water for interior use than a conventional building.
  • WASTE MANAGEMENT:  98 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.  In addition, branch staff recycle all paper, as well as cardboard, plastic, glass and metal containers.

To develop the net-zero energy branch, PNC Bank collaborated with Gensler, a leading global design firm, and the Department of Energy as part of the DOE's Net-Zero Energy Commercial Building Initiative, which aims to significantly improve the energy efficiency of new and existing commercial buildings.  Gensler has worked with PNC since 2006 and is the design architect, while Paladino & Company has worked with PNC since 1998 serving as sustainability and green building consultant. 

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