The rise of ‘green skyscrapers’

With each passing day, strides are being made in alternative energy technologies that paint a bright picture of what the future holds for our planet. Sustainable power sources are highly sought after as replacements for coal and fossil fuels that we currently burn en masse to the detriment of the environment.

As these technologies develop, we are seeing more and more individual projects making use of innovative green approaches to construction and energy efficiency. Take , for example, the new PNC Bank global headquarters expected to be built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This "green skyscraper" is being designed to take advantage of a series of alternative energy technologies that will not only be better for the surrounding environment, but also provide a more pleasant workplace for company employees.

"The building 'breathes' with a double-skin facade: a natural ventilation system that has a glass outer weather and air barrier and an inner layer with automated air vents, a wood curtain wall, and manually operated sliding doors," writes Ariel Schwartz, a senior editor at Co.Exist. "A series of automatic sensors on both layers open up the building for air when the weather is nice."

Add to this a "solar chimney," which pulls warm air and exhaust up through the center of the building as the double skin draws fresh air in, and this will be a bastion of energy efficiency. Not to mention, there will also be a series of photovoltaic solar cells on top of that chimney.

As Schwartz explains, 91 percent of the building will be lit by daylight, drastically reducing energy consumption from lamps and overhead lighting systems. She also describes her favorite part of the design – glass-walled "outdoor-spaces." These areas, located every five stories, will reflect the season outside. Imagine being indoors but feeling like you're sitting outside in a garden on a beautiful summer day while you eat lunch or collaborate with a colleague.

Thanks to state-of-the-art solar module soldering techniques and other leading alternative power solutions, city skylines may soon be populated with energy-efficient skyscrapers like this one.

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