The Beacon at The Tower at PNC Plaza

The Beacon at The Tower at PNC Plaza

The world's greenest building, The Tower at PNC Plaza, opened in Pittsburgh, PA this past week. ESI Design created a 30-foot-high installation in its lobby that uses light and sound to reveal to the public how the building is performing in terms of things like current energy use and water conservation.

The installation, dubbed "The Beacon", sets a new model for how green buildings can engage with the public - inspiring visitors and tenants to learn more about how buildings work and how their daily activities impact a building's performance.

The transparent, sculptural structure interprets and visualizes data from the building's advanced green systems and current environmental conditions like weather and sunlight. Through ever-changing light, color, text and sound patterns, The Beacon reflects the tower's energy and water consumption, water recycling, sun exposure, natural ventilation, waste, composting, and use of artificial light, among other building indicators.

The Beacon expresses in real time how the building is using fresh air and sunlight to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels to create a comfortable, active work environment. It also shows how the building is recycling water to reduce water use, and how much of the tower's waste is being diverted from the landfill.

The Beacon has been designed as a multi-sensory, audio-visual public experience, visible from both inside the lobby and outside at the street level. A customized website that explains The Beacon, including what its various patterns signify about the building's performance, is accessible via tablets in the lobby and any digital device.

Photos: Andy Ryan

ESI Design