Tag Archives: IMPs

How EPDs Will Impact the Building Envelope

MCA's Insulated Metal Panel EPD
MCA’s Insulated Metal Panel EPD

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

Transparency is a common theme in design and construction these days, and product disclosure is quickly becoming a key issue for the building materials industry. Increasingly, Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are being required by designers and specifiers, and the findings of these reports are playing a more prominent role in how materials are chosen for projects.

Earlier this week, Dr. Jim Hoff of the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing discussed several tools for product disclosure, including EPDs, in a webinar featured by Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing magazine.

Speaking primarily to material manufacturers and building designers, Hoff noted that the concept of product disclosure is moving very rapidly into the construction marketplace and is being driven by several market forces, including the green-building press, green data aggregators, and by leading architecture-engineering firms that are participating in a disclosure campaign.

Product disclosure continues to emerge in building standards and codes as well, including LEED, ASHRAE 189.1, and the International Green Construction Code. “Although the concept of disclosure is relatively new, material disclosure has or will be adopted in every major green building standard and code, and it is being introduced at almost at an unprecedented pace,” he said. Hoff explained that EPDs help disclose well known environmental impacts (i.e., global warming and ozone depletion) using established metrics and standardized processes. “It’s a very quantifiable process based on good science,” he said. He further emphasized that EPDs use a well vetted, standardized format based on global ISO consensus standards and a scientific approach over the entire product life cycle. They also provide quantitative measures of key environmental impacts.

“Of course these benefits come at a certain price,” he said. “In fact, price itself is a primary limitation of EPDs today. In my consulting practice, I’ve been involved in the development of several Life Cycle Assessments and EPDs. The order of magnitude for a typical roofing material could easily be in the six figures by the time all is said and done.” He further noted that EPDs

  • are complicated.
  • pose difficulties in integrating products with varying service lives.
  • fail to address energy efficiency contributions. “When you’re looking at the environment impacts of thermal insulation or a cool roofing membrane, you [may] not be looking at environment contributions of those products, which could offset many of those impacts.”
  • fail to address health impacts. “EPDs today primarily address measurements of environment burden, but they do not specifically and are currently not designed to address the potential for health and safety burdens of materials.”

There are also challenges with limited underlying data, which may lead different practitioners to obtain different results.

Hoff encourages material suppliers to consider jointly developing generic EPDs for key industry product segments. “I think there’s a real value in that,” he said. “First, you’ll learn a lot more about the process yourself and, secondly, you’ll be able to provide much broader information that can be very helpful in the marketplace.” Then, he said, get the information to data integrators, but first make sure you are using the best information available.

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) recently compiled data from multiple manufacturers to publish an EPD for insulated metal panels (the full report and an executive summary are available on MCA’s website). MCA is putting the finishing touches on EPDs for single skin panels as well as metal composite panels.

Overall, “increased product transparency is good because it provides a better understanding of ingredients and supply chain impacts and a strong incentive for continuous improvement,” Hoff said. But, he adds, comparisons among products will remain difficult and unpredictable. Risks include overlooking important factors and trade-offs, and arbitrarily excluding excellent products and suppliers.

Hoff’s comments on Health Product Declarations will be featured in an upcoming blog. For questions on EPDs, contact Dr. Hoff at jhoff@roofingcenter.org.

Metal Construction in Denver: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium

Sports Authority FieldBy: John Ryan, Metal Construction Association

We promised to share some of our favorite examples of metal construction in Denver as we get closer to the AIA National Convention from June 20-22 at the Colorado Convention Center. Here’s our first:

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium opened in September, 2001, and features insulated metal panels (IMP) from Centria, as well as Reynobond aluminum metal composite material panels (MCM) from Alcoa.

Best known as the home of the NFL’s Denver Broncos, Mile High Stadium has been home to the likes of Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow. The metal stadium also was the venue for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, as well as concerts from bands including U2 and the Eagles.

Formerly known as Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium, Sports Authority signed a 25-year agreement for the naming rights in 2011. That should be a safe investment because the metal wall panels on that stadium will be looking great and performing well for many years to come.

CENTRIA Stadiums Featured in Final Four (and our unscientific prediction of who will win)

KFC Yum! Center Metal Roof
KFC Yum! Center – University of Louisville

If you’re like us, the brackets you filled out for your NCAA Basketball tournament pool were over long ago. But the tournament continues this weekend with the Final Four, and we need to find a new team to root for. Rather than picking winners by mascots or favorite location (we tried that before and it didn’t work), we thought we’d take a different approach: picking a winner that plays its games in a metal-clad arena!

KFC Yum! Center Design
Formawall Dimension Series Panels

Based on this, our pick to be cutting down the nets Monday night is the University of Louisville, which plays its home games at the KFC Yum! Center. The stadium features high-performance building technology and stunning aesthetics, thanks to CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series panels and a design that focuses on transparent facades and natural lighting. The winner of an AIA Kentucky Merit Award, the new arena was completed in 2010, and has since hosted its share of major college hoops action. Conveniently, the Louisville Cardinals are the only number one seed to make it to the 2013 Final Four, so we like our odds.

Georgia Dome
Georgia Dome Georgia Dome

Worth noting is that Atlanta’s legendary Georgia Dome is the host to this year’s Final Four. This enormous arena is a masterpiece of form and function, sporting over 200,000 square feet of CENTRIA’s Formawall Dimension Series insulated metal panels for the best in advanced thermal and moisture performance (ATMP®). The current home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and the former home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, the Georgia Dome is among the largest domed structures in the world and a staple in the landscape of global athletics—from the 1996 Olympic Games to the legendary Super Bowl XXXIV. Of course, it’s also the home of the 2013 NCAA Final Four!

Regardless of the winner, we’re sure there will be some exciting basketball. We’ll be tuning in to see how our prediction unfolds.

Top Reasons to Use Insulated Metal Panels

Hitchiner Manufacturing Studio
Hitchiner Manufacturing
Photo: Studio One, Manchester, NH

By: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

More often than not, architects and designers choose Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs) for a combination of reasons, not the least of which is aesthetics given that they come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors, finishes, and textures and can be installed both horizontally and vertically. Metl-Span’s Tuff Wall® IMPs, for example, provide a stucco-like appearance to the new corporate-headquarter addition to the Hitchiner Manufacturing facility, Milford, NH, a casting supplier to manufacturers in the aerospace gas turbine engine industry. But according to Dennis Mires, PA, of The Architects in Manchester, NH, IMPs also met insurance requirements, stayed within the owner’s budget, and provided a high-tech look for the company.

With that in mind, what are top reasons for choosing IMPs? Industry experts say that the metal panels:

IMP Manufacturing Suppliesare energy-efficient. IMPs have two metal skins, an interior and an exterior, which are bonded to a foam polyisocyanurate insulation core, making them highly energy efficient, said Brian Jaks of Green Span Profiles, Waller, TX, a manufacturer of IMPs. Initially used on cold-storage facilities, the panels have R values as high as 8 per inch, compared to 3.7–4.3 per inch for batt insulation, and range in thickness from 2–6 inches.

have thermal performance. According to Ken Buchinger of Metal Building Components, Inc., who recently spoke at METALCON, IMPs provide continuous insulation and consistent R values across walls, and have concealed fastener systems that prevent thermal bridging between the exterior and interior skins. He further noted that IMPs tend to hold their R value over time and do not have significant thermal drift.

allow for fast installation. IMPs’ one-piece construction makes for faster installation, Buchinger said. Faster installation helps lower construction costs and interim financing costs. Moreover, he said, the steel skins are resistant to abuse and, compared to conventional building envelope materials, are not as affected by adverse weather conditions such as high winds.

are suitable for green building. IMPs were used on the new LEED-gold-certified “Bartholomew Building” addition to William Allen High School in Allentown, PA,   for their simplicity of design. “The [system] just goes together,” said Mitch Miller, associate and director of specifications of USA Architects, Easton, PA. “You’re installing the insulation and the finished panel at the same time.” Furthermore, the metal in a panel’s skin often has a high content of recycled steel or aluminum, and, when IMPs are removed from a wall, they can be recycled or re-used on another project, saving them from the landfill.

offer unsurpassed design flexibility. “People like the panel because it has a flat appearance,” Jaks said. “It doesn’t necessarily have corrugation and architects like that.” He added that IMPs are available in a variety of textures, including smooth, embossed, and heavy embossed. They also come in wide range of colors, and can be customized to match any color palette. IMPs’ design flexibility allows the ability to achieve almost any look and increase curb appeal.

Haughton Middle School Metal Roof
Haughton Middle School

are well suited for roof applications. More than 130,000 sq. ft. of IMPs was used to reroof the eight-building Haughton Middle School complex in Haughton, LA.  According to Lauren Marchive, project architect with Newman Marchive Carlisle, Inc., Shreveport, LA, the local school board chose IMPs for their thermal performance and because the roof system was available in red, which matched the school’s original design. Even more vital was the speed and ease of installation, and that the roof could be installed during the school year on sections of buildings that were not in use.

are code complaint. In his AIA presentation, Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs): High Performance Green Building Products, Randy Wilken of Metal Building Components, Inc., noted that IMPs qualify as continuous insulation, where required by the International Energy Conservation Code and ASHRAE 90.1. They are also available in ASHRAE/California-compliant cool-roof colors, as listed on the Cool Roof Rating Council’s website (www.coolroofs.org).

Choosing between metal construction materials and systems can be complex—each project has a number of factors that need to be considered. But IMPs offer a host of benefits to make them an attractive choice for a wide variety of projects.