The Largest Green Wall in North America


A few months back, we reported that PNC (NYSE: PNC) was in the process of installing the largest green wall in North American on the exterior of their Pittsburgh headquarters building, One PNC Plaza.  Now, as you can see in this monstrous image, PNC has successfully installed the 2,380 square-foot living wall with 602 modular panels.  Each 2'x2' panel has roughly 24 plants, so there’s approximately 14,448 plants covering the wall of this 30-story building.  Wow!

Studies show the south-facing wall is 25% cooler behind the green wall than ambient temperatures.

Of the eight varieties of plants on the wall, some will change in the winter and some will bloom in the spring.  It’s a beautiful display and there’s probably no more obvious way to wear your environmental commitment on your shirt sleeve.  Part of that commitment includes sourcing materials locally, and PNC acquired all hardware, plants, materials, and installers within a 500-mile radius of downtown Pittsburgh.

The green wall is anchored directly into the building’s reinforced concrete masonry with a stainless steel bracketing system and panels made with recycled aluminum.  There’s an internally controlled irrigation system that requires just 15 minutes of watering once per week (or in colder months only 15 minutes per month), and when it’s fully saturated, it will weigh about 24 tons.

The wall is a product of Green Living™ Technologies of Rochester, New York, and designed by Kari Katzander of Mingo Design also of New York.  Cenkner Engineering Associates of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, and BD&E Strategic Branding and Design of Pittsburgh provided engineering and additional design.

Photo credits: PNC Bank.

  • Portland Real Estate

    Interesting. Other than keeping the building cool it would be nice if they could get it to flower or produce food as well. I think that will be the future of many public spaces and buildings in the future when water and food become more scarce.


    • Landscape Architect

      I don’t think growing food in a space such as this is a great idea. Your intentions are good, but food would be difficult to harvest in such a tall place, plus the food I think would mess up the sign. Besides, vertical gardens already have some functionality itself, they cool the building down and save cooling costs.

      • 4real

        If you can afford to have a 2380 sq. ft. vertical edible garden planted and installed on your building; obtaining the appropriate boom man lift, and a full-time gardener should not be out of the question. Extra brownie point would also go to the owner for providing surplus food to local homeless shelters. If properly executed you would be killing so many birds with one stone, no permit would save you from a poaching fine.

  • Jacqueline

    There AC bill should dramatically decrease. Finally corporations I starting to get wise and prettier at the same time.

    • Steve Johnson

      As large as the planting is, it pales in comparison to the remaining wall surface, especially the glass and as such I would be very surprised if the impact was even 1% of total cooling cost, especially since the area of concern is probably back of house functions.

      • Landscape Architect

        This is true, the glass is incredibly inefficient at heat transfer, but there are solutions. I’m sure the vertical garden helps more than 1%

  • Anonymous

    This is an incredible structure. Beautiful piece of art and helps with energy efficiency. Thanks for the great photo!

  • Matt

    I totally love Green Living living wall technology. I’ve been wanting to put it up in our office space. When we get it done, I’ll email you a photo of the final look.

    • Anonymous

      Matt, well done, look forward to seeing your wall!

    • Preston

      Matt, please do, I can’t wait to see it. jetsongreen at yahoo dot com.

  • Carla Arce

    Well worth every effort

  • manny

    great idea, looks fantastic and is envionmentally friendly
    just like to know the gardening company that has to maintain it!

  • manny

    Interesting project, I,d like to know the company that maintains the “wall garden”. Is it gardeners absailers inc.

  • Anonymous

    You;re right Steve but wouldn’t covering some of the wall have a decrease in AC as apposed to none of the wall being covered.

  • Greenface

    take a look at the largest green wall in Europe…
    About 5000 m2 is being realized and will be overing an exsisting parkinggarage completely within the next three years. This wil change the poluting parkinggarage into a selfcleaning machine by catching finedust and reducing co2.


    for more details

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