A building’s envelope is the first thing you notice - its defining feature, before even setting foot inside. While indisputably important, there’s much more going on than just aesthetics when designing one. There are unseen aspects and qualities that make the interior of the building safe and comfortable, which architects are constantly balancing with the visual appearance of the exterior.
Building envelopes keep out the weather, contribute to thermal and acoustic comfort, affect fire safety, and the choice of one system over another has economic, sustainability, constructability, and longevity implications to consider. In addition, there are multiple aesthetic factors a building envelope needs to address: context, color, texture, visual comfort, and overall design intent to name just a few.
Fortunately, many of today’s high-performance materials and façade systems can address multiple aspects of envelope design simultaneously. Insulated metal panel (IMPs) systems, for example, include integral thermal/acoustic insulation in an easy-to-install package that comes in a multitude of texture, scale, and finish options. Therefore, both the exterior appearance and insulation needs are addressed at once; today, panels are available with R-values of up to R-8.0 per inch with products like Kingspan QuadCore.
A building envelope can either contribute or detract from a structure’s fire resistance as well. The same closed-cell insulation core technology that gives QuadCore® panels their insulation value also contributes to their fire performance. The panels have been determined in testing to have a higher ignition temperature and release less smoke and heat in the event of a building fire, meaning the building envelope will not contribute to or accelerate its spread.
Buildings are a major contributor to global climate change and waste production, so it’s also important to consider sustainability and longevity in an envelope design and in material selections. Due to the efficiency of QuadCore®’s insulation and high R-value, as well as the 30-year thermal warranty, the panels have the potential to lower a building’s overall energy use and emissions and even decrease the size of the HVAC system needed to keep the building at a comfortable temperature.
Even beyond environmental health, another tenet of sustainable design is the health of a building’s occupants. QuadCore® Technology is certified to have low VOC emissions as well as not containing any Banned List or Red List chemicals known to be harmful to humans. The product is supported by a wide range of independent sustainability certifications, which help it achieve credits in LEED, WELL, and Living Building Challenge rating schemes.
Thus, installed vertically or horizontally, the lightweight panels with steel skins and a single component – a proprietary self-blended hybrid insulation core – function as an effective barrier against the weather, supporting the interior comfort and safety of its occupants. To avoid visible fasteners, panels are joined together with a side joint clip system.
The following technical diagrams describe the versatility of insulated metal panels and how they work in multiple applications in a building envelope.
Designwall 4000 Architectural Wall Panels
Developed especially for large-scale projects, this foamed panel presents different options and finishes to generate distinctive façades, with variable shades or accents according to its reveal options (from 1⁄8" to 6"), and with finishes with and without relief. Its thickness of up to 4" ensures optimum thermal performance.
KS Series Wall Panel
This model stands out for its different module widths, which can be adjusted to generate different patterns on the exterior face of buildings. In addition, its ends and corners can be customized to give a cleaner appearance to the overall appearance of the project.
Optimo Wall Panel
With the ability to complement the previous models, this panel allows the architect to create flat and minimalist envelopes, offering the possibility to choose pearlescent micas or metallic colors to give a special touch to certain areas.
KS Shadowline Wall Panel
In typologies that require a specially insulated enclosure for controlled indoor environments, this type of panel offers a very high R-value, with module widths of 24", 30", 36" and 42".
Lowering whole-life-carbon in buildings and containing recycled materials and cycled production waste, all of these panels are designed and manufactured with sustainable initiatives in mind, including the use of renewable energy and harvested rainwater, and processing in zero waste facilities. These efforts are framed within Planet Passionate, Kingspan’s 10-year global sustainability strategy, aimed to address climate change, circularity, and protection of the natural world. Kingspan is on track to match 100% of its operational energy use through renewables and renewable energy certificates (to offset any remaining non-renewable energy use).
Find more technical details and information on these and other models here.