PNC Bank Pittsburgh Green Wall (2012)
 Information Partner  
Since the change out, the client has not only seen aesthetic improvement to the wall; the amount of water use for irrigation has been cut in half and plant mortality is a fraction of what it was in previous years. Another improvement was the addition of better access and a rehauling of the scope of maintenance contract. The result is a healthier, more sustainable living wall and a happy client. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionProject Name: PNC Bank Pittsburgh Green Wall (2012)
Year: 2012
Owner: PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Building Type: Corporate
Type: Living Wall
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 2310 sq.ft.
Slope: 100%
Access: Inaccessible, Open to Public
Submitted by: Plant Connection, Inc.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Greenwall Manufacturer & Grower: Plant Connection, Inc.
Green Wall System: G-O2 Living Walls, Plant Connection, Inc.
Installation: Plant Connection, Inc.
Maintenance: Plantscape, Inc.
Due to a lack of a comprehensive maintenance plan and access plan for ongoing maintenance, this green wall modular system caused an unacceptable mortality rate for the client’s living wall. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionThis iconic living wall was under significant stress, as seen here on March 2012. The client approached us to help them upgrade their existing living wall. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionIn May of 2012, we removed the failing living wall modules. Existing problems included pinched irrigation lines, among others. Photo Courtesy of Plant Connection
This iconic PNC Bank living wall was under significant stress due to a number of factors. The client approached us to help them upgrade their existing living wall, using the latest technology and techniques available to create a more successful project.

Existing problems including pinched irrigation lines, an insufficient irrigation system, and lack of a comprehensive maintenance plan and reasonable access plan for ongoing maintenance, which were causing significant challenges and an unacceptable mortality rate for the client’s living wall.
Existing green wall modules were removed, and any viable plants were rehabilitated at our nursery and soil media was composted for future reuse. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionWe were able to salvage, repurpose and recycle as much as possible from the existing wall installation, while still upgrading the green wall modules and irrigation system to perform their best. The aluminum panels from the old system were emptied, crushed, and recycled. Photo Courtesy of Plant Connection
Through careful planning and coordination, we were able to salvage, repurpose and recycle as much as possible from the preexisting wall system while still upgrading the green wall modules and irrigation system to perform their best. Preexisting green wall modules were removed; any viable plants were rehabilitated at our nursery and soil media was composted for future reuse. The aluminum panels from the old system were emptied, crushed, and recycled. The new G-O2 Living Wall modules were retrofitted to work with the existing bracket system already installed on the wall that supported the original modules. The entire irrigation system was overhauled to meet G-O2 Living Wall specifications, including creating closed loop supply lines to ensure even pressure throughout the drip lines, and adding more irrigation zones to service the wall for better control.

After a light study determined that the wall was in half sun, half shade and based on feedback from the maintenance company about their challenges irrigating the old system, we doubled the amount of irrigation zones to be able to control irrigation across these two micro-climactic conditions and to meet G-O2 Living Wall specifications for optimum length of drip lines.

The new living wall modules installed used a similar to nearly identical plant palette as the initial installation, but the new green wall module system had significant technological advances over the previous system. The new system has an insulation feature to protect plant roots from exterior temperature fluctuations; a water conservation layer and a specially engineered soil media to improve water movement through the modules and increase water availability for the plants; a specialized irrigation trough at the top of the living wall modules that directs water to plant roots; special additives in the soil media that preserve soil structure over time and prevent erosion and media loss; a specialized organic component that does not break down over time and hosts beneficial micro-organisms that were introduced to the media during the growing stage. These micro-organisms continue to provide a nutrient cycle within the soil media that feeds the plants and mimics natural conditions found in topsoil.

A carefully planned and executed maintenance regime helps us to continue to manage the living wall using strictly natural techniques. In addition, a sophisticated proprietary G-O2 Living Wall monitoring system with sensors measuring soil moisture volumetrics, soil temperatures, and soil salinity was installed during the change out to the new system. These sensors transmit data through radio transmission units to central servers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This data is recorded, analyzed, and interpreted in a customized web-based software platform that is used by the maintenance team and overseen by Plant Connection, Inc. to manage the performance of the wall.

Since the change out, the client has not only seen aesthetic improvement to the wall; the amount of water use for irrigation has been cut in half and plant mortality is a fraction of what it was in previous years. Another improvement was the addition of better access and a rehauling of the scope of maintenance contract, including annual training of maintenance technicians by Plant Connection.

Since the installation of the new green wall system, roof davits have been installed to accommodate a swing stage that the maintenance company now uses to access the wall. The costs for access were decreased, affording the client more of the budget to apply to actual maintenance activities on the wall, which is now occurring twice as frequently as it was previously. The result is a healthier, more sustainable living wall and a happy client.

Additional thumbnail photos:

The entire irrigation system was overhauled to manufacturer’s specification including adding 9 more zones and creating closed loop supply lines to ensure even pressure throughout the drip lines. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionThe new G-O2 living wall modules installed used a similar to nearly identical plant palette as the initial installation. The planted modules grew for several months in our greenhouses. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionA sophisticated monitoring system with sensors measuring soil moisture volumetrics, soil temperatures, and soil salinity was installed during the change out. These sensors transmit data that is recorded, analyzed, and interpreted by the maintenance team and overseen by the manufacturer to manage the performance of the wall. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionSince the installation of the new green wall system, roof davits have been installed to accommodate a swing stage that the maintenance company now uses to access the wall. The costs for access were decreased, affording them more of the budget to apply to actual maintenance activities on the wall. Photo Courtesy of Plant ConnectionA carefully planned and executed maintenance regime helps us to continue to manage the living wall using strictly natural techniques. Photo Courtesy of Plant Connection
View more project photos here.For PNC Bank Pittsburgh Green Wall project inquiries contact Anthony Caggiano, President of Plant Connection, Inc. at 1.888.78.PLANT; myplantconnection.com; or anthony@myplantconnection.com. Learn about Plant Connection, Inc. in the Greenroof & Greenwall Directory.
 
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