Angie Tennyson

Passive House and the Tower at PNC Plaza

What do Passive House (Passivhaus) and the Tower at PNC Plaza have in common?

Pittsburgh and High Performance Building.

Last week we attended the 8th Annual North American Passive House Conference  in Pittsburgh. We realize the passive house movement is growing momentum and expanding from a predominately residential focus-to include passive commercial and multi-family projects. While passive standards have not been implemented in many commercial or multi-family projects in North America, there is movement forward to incorporate high performance strategies, and those involved in the Passive House movement are at the forefront of this progress.

Over 400 attended the 8th Annual Passive House Conference

Over 400 attended the 8th Annual Passive House Conference

Passive House for Multi-family and Commercial

Presentations on multi-family and commercial buildings were presented by Chris Benedict, a NYC high-performance/passive building architect, and Adam Cohen, Vice Chairman of the Technical Committee of the Passive House Institute US.

In addition, our own Matt Capone presented the Morrison Hershfield research results on the thermal performance of concrete balconies  in the conference track focused on Thermal Enclosures/ Thermal Bridges. Matt’s presentation included various examples of Passivhaus multi-family and commercial projects in Germany, as well as a look at the high performance initiatives in the Tower at PNC Plaza.

Rendering of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

Rendering of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

Construction of the Tower at PNC Plaza

With the Tower at PNC Plaza beginning to take shape in Pittsburg, (only a few blocks from the Passive House Conference) Matt concluded his presentation and walked to the Tower at PNC Plaza to demonstrate the installation of Isokorb® into the breathable building.

Matt Capone at the Tower, ground floor.

Matt Capone at the Tower, ground floor.

The Tower at PNC Plaza: Can you make a building breathe?

The Tower at PNC Plaza: Can you make a building breathe?

Matt was onsite at the PNC Plaza to meet with the contractors, PJ Dick, where he guided the installation team in a dry run of their first installation of Isokorb®.

Matt Capone on-site installation at the Tower at PNC Plaza.

Matt Capone on-site installation at the Tower at PNC Plaza.

Brian concrete lead, with PJ Dick

Brian concrete lead, with PJ Dick

 

Preparing the formwork to install concrete canopies at the Tower at PNC Plaza.

Preparing the formwork to install concrete canopies at the Tower at PNC Plaza.

Schöck Isokorb® will be installed in line with the tower’s interior curtain wall, contributing to the building’s high efficiency and thermal performance of the façade. The structure will use more than 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) of Isokorb® CM modules along the edge of 30 levels with double-skin façade.  This is an exciting time for Schöck, with the first Pittsburgh project to install Isokorb®.

Connections in High Performance Buildings

While our visit in Pittsburg was brief, we were able to meet with many building scientists and architects who are leading high performance building. On the way home, we had one more conversation at the Pittsburgh Airport with closing speaker of the Passive House Conference, Joseph Lstiburek, who is also principal of the Building Science Corporation. We told Joe how great we are, Joe told us how great he is, and in the end, Building Science Corporation and Schöck are on the same path; to improve building performance.

Joe educating me.

Joe educating me.

All in all, we had a great visit to Pittsburgh.

We look forward to providing further updates on the PNC Tower installation.


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