Exploring a Real-World Model of Sustainable and Circular Business in Pittsburgh

By Peter Fadoul & Stephanie Potter
Oct 25, 2019 10:45 AM ET

Hyper-efficient buildings, circular clothing and fashion, sustainable manufacturing, eliminating food waste, innovation in energy—the Pittsburgh business community painted a perfect picture of what a system-wide approach to sustainability and a circular economy look like in action. On October 1, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center, with support from Covestro, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and the University of Pittsburgh, led several business leaders on an interactive tour to different companies and organizations in the greater Pittsburgh area that demonstrate how the city has gone from the heart of U.S. steel manufacturing to a nationally significant example of sustainable business.

The Tower at PNC Plaza

Our first site visit was the headquarters of one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S., The Tower at PNC Plaza. The Tower, a state-of-the-art high-rise in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, has achieved LEED Platinum status, the highest certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. Built by renowned sustainable architecture firm Gensler, the skyscraper combines an array of cutting-edge energy efficient and smart building technologies, including adaptive HVAC systems that allow it to “breathe” with natural outside air, automated blinds and window tinting to limit overwarming from sunlight, an on-site stormwater reuse system, and locally-sourced building materials. PNC has a strong, long-standing commitment to sustainability, and The Tower is used as a strong signal to their stakeholders that these practices can and should be a centerpiece of good business.

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