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Unique BAPI sensor featured in Pittsburgh “Skyrise that Breathes”

BAPI "Button" Sensor
BAPI “Button” Sensor

Approximately 400 of BAPI’s patented Low Profile “Button” temperature sensors help a 33-story high rise “breathe” fresh air without using fan power.

The Tower at PNC Plaza, the corporate headquarters for financial services organization, PNC, was built in 2015 in downtown Pittsburgh, PA, with the goal of being “the world’s greenest skyrise”.

Tower at PNC Plaza
Tower at PNC Plaza

One of the Tower’s most innovative features is its breathable, double-skin facade. The exterior wall includes a series of air gates that open automatically when conditions are right, and two vertical shafts at the center of the building with a solar collection panel on the roof act as a “solar chimney”. This creates an updraft that draws the fresh air through the facade and rooms then up and out of the building. The Tower operates in this natural-ventilation mode for over 40 percent of the workday.

Occupiable Facade with Automatic Windows
Occupiable Facade with Automatic Windows

Besides letting air into the building, people can enter this 3’ wide facade and virtually “step outside” for a breath of fresh air. This occupiable feature of the facade makes it a perfect fit for the BAPI “Button” sensor. The building’s automation system needs precise temperature measurement for the air gates to work properly, but room style thermostats could impact the aesthetics or stick out into the limited space. The “Button” sensor is smaller than a quarter, so it doesn’t stick out, yet provides the precise temperature measurement needed. The sensor is also paintable to match any wall color, although the 400 for the tower were molded in black to match the facade.

“We created the button sensor for areas where the aesthetics are just as important as the temperature measurement,” said Ritch Stevenson, president of BAPI. “Our customers were looking for an alternative, especially for executive office suites and high-end homes. We’re excited to have them in Tower at PNC Plaza because of its innovative use of natural ventilation.”

For more information on BAPI’s Low Profile “Button” Sensor, click here.

by Terry Noble, BAPI Technical Writer