Andy Ryan

The Tower at PNC Plaza, which opened earlier this month, is one of a number of new commercial towers around the globe claiming to be the world's "greenest" office building. To measure and publicize its energy-efficient design, the tower features The Beacon, a 30-foot-tall data-driven light installation developed by experience design firm ESI Design, that conveys the building's real-time performance and response to the environment through audiovisual displays. The Beacon, which hangs at the center of this new PNC Bank corporate headquarters' atrium, interprets data collected from indoor and outdoor sensors about the Gensler-designed building’s energy and water consumption, water recycling, daylighting levels, natural ventilation, waste collection, composting levels, and use of electric light. It then communicates that information through an artistic display of light, color, text, and sound patterns.

Visible from both inside the lobby and outside at the street level, the Beacon displays information about how the LEED Platinum–certified building utilizes sunlight and outdoor air to reduce its energy consumption, and how occupants’ daily activities affect its performance. Visitors can reference the Beacon’s website through tablets stationed throughout the lobby or on their own mobile devices to learn what the various light patterns signify about the building’s metrics.

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