PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. was the first bank in the nation to commit to green standards for all new and renovated buildings. They were the first to apply for LEED certification for a prototype design, and currently have more green certified buildings than any other company on earth. Bayer Becker was approached by PNC Realty to become their site plan consultant for the Greater Cincinnati region in 2003. Since then, Bayer Becker has provided consulting services for 21 of PNC’s Green Branches in the Tri-State. So far 9 have been constructed and opened; 7 of which have achieved LEED Silver certification.
Each site featured its own set of challenges, but the main design challenges on each site included reducing the storm water surface runoff, reducing demand for potable water, cleaning the storm water which does leave the sites, and providing attractive landscaping with native planting materials.
Reducing surface storm water runoff was achieved using an underground detention system and open ditches to allow water to seep into the ground. In addition, capturing and using storm water for flushing toilets in conjunction with the installation of native plant materials had the combined effect of reducing the demand for potable water.
Cleaning the storm water runoff was accomplished through basin design and plant materials. Catch basin filter inserts, mechanical separators, filtration through the initial chamber of the underground detention basin system, and the combined effect of grass filter strips and plant materials helped clean pollutants and sediments from the runoff before it entered the public storm sewer systems or other drainage features.
Just as important as cleaning runoff was preventing the sediments from the landscaping areas and swales from being picked up by rushing water during storm events. This was accomplished through the use of permanent erosion protection mats in the bottom of the swales that had potential to have higher velocity flows and also through the use of rock at points where concentrated flows left the pavement. The primary objectives of these installations were to not only protect the stream bed, but to also dissipate the energy of the water flow, spread it out, and slow it down to where it would not have the potential to erode the vegetation and open channels. Bayer Becker was proud to provide design services to PNC. The buildings are a testament to the Sustainable design model and will benefit the environment for years to come.