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Welcome to the Tower
The Beacon
The Beacon
The Beacon
The Beacon
The Beacon
The Beacon
Energy Use
Energy
PNC Special Message
Time
Weather
Weather
Shades
Occupancy
Recycling
Recycling
Recycling
Water
Water
Water
Energy
Fresh Air
Fresh Air
Fresh Air
Fresh Air
Sunlight
Light
Light
The Beacon
The Beacon
The Beacon
Energy Use
Recycling
Fresh Air
Light
Water

The Beacon is designed to play special messages to share with the public.

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Special Message

When the Beacon is not reporting building performance data, it can broadcast special messages to visitors in the lobby of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

The Beacon is designed to play beautiful animations when it is not reporting building performance data.

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In-Between Moments

When the Beacon is taking a rest from reporting building performance data, it plays artistic animations for visitors in the lobby of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

The Beacon is designed to play beautiful animations when it is not reporting building performance data.

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In-Between Moments

When the Beacon is taking a rest from reporting building performance data, it plays artistic animations for visitors in the lobby of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

The Beacon is designed to play beautiful animations when it is not reporting building performance data.

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X
In-Between Moments

When the Beacon is taking a rest from reporting building performance data, it plays artistic animations for visitors in the lobby of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

The Beacon is designed to play beautiful animations when it is not reporting building performance data.

?
X
In-Between Moments

When the Beacon is taking a rest from reporting building performance data, it plays artistic animations for visitors in the lobby of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

The Beacon is designed to play beautiful animations when it is not reporting building performance data.

?
X
In-Between Moments

When the Beacon is taking a rest from reporting building performance data, it plays artistic animations for visitors in the lobby of the Tower at PNC Plaza.

The Tower has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, responding to and using its natural environment to meet many of its energy needs.

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Yesterday We Used
17%
Less Energy
than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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Time-Lapse

The Beacon is showing how much power has been used floor by floor over the last 72 hours.

The Tower has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, responding to and using its natural environment to meet many of its energy needs.

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X
Yesterday We Used
17%
Less Energy
than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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X
Energy Use

The Beacon is showing how much power each floor is currently using. The LEDs range from red to yellow to white, as power use increases from low to high.

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Time Marker

On the hour, LEDs light up to tell the time. The upper band marks the current hour, the middle band marks the minute, and the lowerband marks the seco

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External Temperature

The LEDs represent the temperature outside.

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Precipitation

The panels show whether it’s raining or snowing. If there’s significant accumulation, the panels “fill up” from the bottom to show how much.

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External Temperature

The LEDs represent the temperature outside, ranging from blue when it’s cold to red when it’s hot.

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Clouds & Wind

The animation depicts current cloud cover — the cloudier the sky, the more clouds are visualized. The speed of the cloud animation reflects wind speed.

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Shades

The panels show whether the shades in the Tower’s façade were open, partly closed, or fully closed over the last 24 hours.

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Occupancy

The panels show where in the Tower people have been working over the last 24 hours.

Occupants of the Tower are encouraged to recycle waste and compost, reducing waste-to-landfill.

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Composting and Recycling This Month

Orange LEDs show composting, green LEDs show recycling, and the rest is waste sent to landfill.

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Last Month We Diverted
17%
Of Our Total Waste
from landfills.
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Composting

The black LEDs show how much the Tower has composted this month, as a percentage of the total waste for the month.

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Recycling

The lower white LEDs show how much The Tower has recycled this month, as a percentage of the projected total waste for the month.

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This week we've diverted
17%
Of Our Total Waste
from landfills.
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Recycling

The green LEDs show how much The Tower has recycled this week, as a percentage of the projected total waste for the month.

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city.

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Yesterday We Used
17%
Less Fresh Water
than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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Recycled Water

The dark blue band shows how much recycled water the Tower has used since midnight, as a percentage of all the water we expect to use today.

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Fresh Water

The light blue band shows how much fresh water the Tower has drawn from the city since midnight, as a percentage of all the water we expect to use today.

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city.

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Yesterday We Used
17%
Less Fresh Water
than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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X
Recycled Water

The dark blue band shows how much recycled water the Tower has used since midnight, as a percentage of all the water we expect to use today.

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city.

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Water Usage

This mode tracks how much water we are recycling daily.

The Tower has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, responding to and using its natural environment to meet many of its energy needs.

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X
Energy Use

The Beacon is showing how much power each floor is currently using. The LEDs range from red to yellow to white, as power use increases from low to high.

The Tower is designed to naturally ventilate whenever possible, so that it needs less power for heating and cooling.

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We're using
17%
less power today
for heating and cooling than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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Interior Temperature

Most of the Beacon currently shows the temperature of the solar cavities inside the double layer of windows, while the upper band shows the temperature of the solar chimney. The LEDs range from blue when it’s cold to red when it’s hot.

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Dynamic Façade

The pulsing panels show which windows are currently open, allowing the building to "breathe."

The Tower is designed to naturally ventilate whenever possible, so that it needs less power for heating and cooling.

?
X
Yesterday We Used
17%
Less Power
for heating and cooling than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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X
Time-lapse

The Beacon is showing the natural ventilation of the building over the past 72 hours. The pulsing panels show the windows opening and closing as needed to allow the building to breathe.

The Tower is designed to naturally ventilate whenever possible, so that it needs less power for heating and cooling.

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X
Interior Temperature

Most of the Beacon currently shows the temperature of the solar cavities inside the double layer of windows, while the upper band shows the temperature of the solar chimney. The LEDs range from blue when it’s cold to red when it’s hot.

?
X
Dynamic Façade

The pulsing panels show which windows are currently open, allowing the building to "breathe."

The Tower is designed to naturally ventilate whenever possible, so that it needs less power for heating and cooling.

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X
Sun Position

The hotspot of LEDs shows where the sun currently is in relation to the Tower.

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Yesterday we used
17%
less power for lights
than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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Sunlight on the Tower

The rays show the amount of sunlight on the façade. The more sunlight there is, the longer the rays.

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Artificial Light Use

The red LEDs show current use of artificial light in the Tower. The more sunlight we use, the less artificial light we need.

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Yesterday we used
17%
less power for lights
than a typical building of this size.
Building performance comparisons are based on comparing the Tower at PNC Plaza to a structure of a similar scale at a similar location built to ASHRAE minimally-compliant standards.
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X
Sunlight on the Tower

The rays show the amount of sunlight on the façade. The more sunlight there is, the longer the rays.

TEST

TEST

TEST

The Tower has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, responding to and using its natural environment to meet many of its energy needs.

Occupants of the Tower are encouraged to recycle waste and compost, reducing waste-to-landfill.

The Tower is designed to naturally ventilate whenever possible, so that it needs less power for heating and cooling.

The Tower is designed to maximize the use of sunlight, so that it needs less power for artificial lighting.

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city.

How The Tower Saves
Energy
How The Tower Saves
Energy
How The Tower Saves
Energy
How The Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower
Works
How the Tower
Works
How the Tower Conserves
Water
How the Tower Uses
Fresh Air
How the Tower Uses
Shades
How the Tower
Works
How the Tower
Recycles
How the Tower
Recycles
How the Tower
Recycles
How the Tower Conserves
Water
How the Tower Conserves
Water
How the Tower Conserves
Water
How the Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower Uses
Fresh Air
How the Tower Uses
Fresh Air
How the Tower Uses
Fresh Air
How the Tower Uses
Fresh Air
How the Tower Uses
Light
How The Tower Uses
Light
How The Tower Uses
Light
How The Tower Saves
Energy
How The Tower Saves
Energy
How The Tower Saves
Energy
How The Tower Saves
Energy
How the Tower
Recycles
How the Tower Uses
Fresh Air
How The Tower Uses
Light
How the Tower Conserves
Water

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

Like a living organism, the Tower responds to its environment. It also communicates how it’s performing, so it can learn from experience and continue to grow.

Learn How The Tower:

Like a living organism, the Tower responds to its environment. It also communicates how it’s performing, so it can learn from experience and continue to grow.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city and releases less water back into the sewer system.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to “breathe” — it uses natural ventilation as much as possible, so that mechanical heating and cooling is less needed.

Learn How The Tower:

The automated shades in the Tower’s façade respond to the environment to help insulate the Tower in winter, deflect heat in summer, and reduce glare throughout the year.

Learn How The Tower:

Like a living organism, the Tower responds to its environment. It also communicates how it’s performing, so it can learn from experience and continue to grow.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza reduces waste by making it easy for people to recycle paper and plastic, compost, and more. The more we recycle, the less waste goes to landfill.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza reduces waste by making it easy for people to recycle paper and plastic, compost, and more. The more we recycle, the less waste goes to landfill.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza reduces waste by making it easy for people to recycle paper and plastic, compost, and more. The more we recycle, the less waste goes to landfill.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city and releases less water back into the sewer system.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city and releases less water back into the sewer system.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city and releases less water back into the sewer system.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to “breathe” — it uses natural ventilation as much as possible, so that mechanical heating and cooling is less needed.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to “breathe” — it uses natural ventilation as much as possible, so that mechanical heating and cooling is less needed.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to “breathe” — it uses natural ventilation as much as possible, so that mechanical heating and cooling is less needed.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to “breathe” — it uses natural ventilation as much as possible, so that mechanical heating and cooling is less needed.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to maximize the use of sunlight, reducing the need for lights.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to maximize the use of sunlight, reducing the need for lights.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to maximize the use of sunlight, reducing the need for lights.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, by maximizing the use of fresh air and sunlight, and by tracking when people need power (and when they don’t).

Learn How The Tower:

TEST

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower has been designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, responding to and using its natural environment to meet many of its energy needs.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza reduces waste by making it easy for people to recycle paper and plastic, compost, and more. The more we recycle, the less waste goes to landfill.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to “breathe” — it uses natural ventilation as much as possible, so that mechanical heating and cooling is less needed.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower at PNC Plaza has been designed to maximize the use of sunlight, reducing the need for lights.

Learn How The Tower:

The Tower recycles as much water as possible, so that it needs less fresh water from the city and releases less water back into the sewer system.

Learn How The Tower:
Live View
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How Does the Beacon Work?
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  • Introduction

    The Beacon, in the lobby of the Tower at PNC Plaza, is a one-of-a-kind light and media sculpture that visualizes the Tower’s performance in real time. The better we understand the Tower’s performance, the more we can continue to improve it.

  • Create a Canvas

    The Beacon combines 1536 display panels into an integrated media canvas. Each panel has liquid crystal film that becomes clear when it receives electricity, or opaque without it. Inside is a grid of 8 LEDs that show a range of colors. These elements can be used simultaneously or separately to create animations with a variety of color, motion, and diffusion.

    The liquid crystal film draws no energy when opaque and uses very little when transparent, while LEDs use less energy than incandescents, making the Beacon highly energy-efficient.

  • Visualize Data

    The source for the Beacon’s visualizations is the Tower itself.

    With a variety of sensors installed inside and out, the Tower constantly measures its performance and environment. The Beacon communicates with the building’s data system, and then translates the data into dynamic light patterns that represent different aspects of the Tower’s performance in real time.

    As you watch, the Beacon reflects how the building maximizes its use of natural resources (sunlight, fresh air, rainfall, etc.) and minimizes its reliance on gas and electricity.