Tag Archives: Insulated Metal Panels

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.

Zinc Wall Panels, Poetry, and the Public

Poetry FoundationBy: Jane Martinsons, Metal Construction Association

How do you design a Chicago cultural destination that will carry out the mission of the building owner, the Poetry Foundation, to celebrate the best poetry and put it before the largest possible audience?

Certainly, it’s no easy task. But renowned architect John Ronan of John Ronan Architects, Chicago, chose to wrap much of the new Poetry Foundation Building in a black zinc perforated screenwall, fabricated by VMZinc and installed by Tuschall Engineering Co., Inc., so that, when viewed from the front, the metal building becomes transparent and invites those on the street into an open-air garden to hear poetry and enjoy a place of quiet contemplation.

The garden is an urban sanctuary of sorts—a space that, according to Ronan, “mediates between the street and the building, blurring the hard distinctions between public and private.”

Ronan said the design of the building and the use of materials, such as perforated zinc wall panels, are intended to mirror the way in which people read poetry. “Just as good poetry doesn’t always divulge all of its meanings on the first reading, the new building will engage the public’s curiosity and unfold in states,” said Ronan.

Chicago Poetry Foundation New Building

Opened in June 2011, the Poetry Foundation’s new 22,000-sq.-ft., LEED-Silver home is one of only a few public spaces in the country built exclusively for the advancement of poetry.

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.