Insulated Metal Panels6 Examples of Versatility in Design and Performance
The Go-To Panel
Over our 50 years in the building facade industry, we have seen many products come and go. However, few have had the same impact on the market as insulated metal panels. Their versatility, speed of install, cost efficiency, thermal performance, air/water control, and substitutive properties for studs/sheathing make them an easy go-to product for a wide array of project applications. Over the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in IMP usage especially among manufacturing and mission critical projects.
One major benefit IMP has over typically facade materials for large manufacturing and mission critical projects is the speed at which a building can be closed in. This is primarily since insulated metal panels are a complete wall system, meaning they act as your insulation, sheathing, air/water barrier, and exterior cladding. With one system and one panel, Kovach can achieve what would typically require three to four subcontractors. For mission critical projects, speed and schedule efficiency are crucial and insulated metal panel’s benefits cannot be overlooked.
Typically insulated metal panels are installed in vertical or horizontal applications. However, as experts in facade design, we wanted to shed some light on some more creative uses of insulated metal panels based on our experience. In the following article we will use examples from our own projects that demonstrate creative use-cases for insulated metal panels in three main areas:
Concealed Thermal Wall
With the wide array of panel profiles and endless color options, insulated exterior metal wall panels have come a long way from the days of strictly being used for warehouses and storage facilities. We have worked with many architects and designers that have pushed the creative possibilities of IMPs. The end result is a superb building enclosure that delivers in both performance and aesthetics.
Henry B Gonzalez Convention Center
San Antonio, Texas
The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is a 1.3 million square feet state-of-the-art multi-use facility. Designed by Populous, it represents a creative, exciting, and fresh use of insulated metal panels in architectural application. Populous broke from typically vertical and horizontal patterns and designed an angular layout accentuated by bold contrasting colors. In addition to the insulated metal panels, we also installed the remainder of the metal panel work and glass and glazing. We enjoy working with design teams that are eager to break from tradition and find new and creative ways of using proven materials.
Las Vegas Convention Center
Las Vegas, Nevada
The Las Vegas Convention Center is another great example of putting the aesthetic possibilities of insulated metal panels on full display. The design team created a randomized pattern of gray insulated metal panels which achieved a conservative look that was still at home with the eccentric and eclectic style of Las Vegas.
Concealed Thermal Wall
While IMPs can offer excellent design options, occasionally we will use them for just their thermal properties as an insulated wall. We have had great success installing IMP as the main exterior wall but clad with a more complex system for design purposes. This was the case for ASU Beus Center for Law and Society and Golden 1 Center.
ASU Beus Center for Law and Society
There are no insulated metal panels visible on the exterior of ASU BCLS, but they still played a tremendously important role in the building’s envelope. We were presented with several unique challenges throughout the design and construction of this project. Ennead Architects and Jones Studios designed a beautiful and complex facade of stone, glass, and metal fins. The solution we proposed centralized around a unitized facade system with units that could capture all three of these materials. Kingspan’s insulated metal panels became a critical part of this solution and were glazed into the unitized curtainwall system behind the sandstone. The IMP panels eliminated the need for additional air/water protection, sheathing, which saved time, money, and lightened the overall load on the building.
Golden 1 Center
The home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Golden 1 Center is carbon and grid neutral, as well as LEED Gold-certified. AECOM designed truly a one-of-a-kind facade made of large aluminum panels embossed with patterns of falling leaves. For this project the facade materials were attached to the IMP using Kingspan’s Karrier System and acted as a “single system.” This resulted in a strikingly unique architectural panel that also met requirements for thermal performance, waterproofing, fire protection, and sheathing.
One of the ways Kovach stands out as a facade design expert is our experience and knowledge on multiple exterior skin systems. This allows us to be a “one stop shop” for projects that have IMP and other material systems on the facade. With in-house detailing, ample fabrication space, and a deep bench of install crews, we can work on exciting projects that incorporate insulated metal panels into a vast array of exterior facade materials. The following projects are just a couple of recent examples when IMP was used in conjunction with glass, stone, and other metal systems.
Our scope on this 25-story residential tower included a lot more than just the insulated metal panels. We also fabricated and installed the MCM, perforated screen panels, and glass and glazing. Insulated metal panels were a great option for the Adeline project because they allowed us to replace the originally designed MCM, girts, insulation, waterproofing and sheathing with one product. We were also able to panelize the IMP’s by attaching them to prefabricated stud framing and installing them all at once from the floor. Adeline stands as a great example of how a simple and low-cost product like insulated metal panels can pair extremely well with high cost/high design systems like glass curtain wall.
Creighton University Health Science Campus
This project really gave us the opportunity to flex our design, fabrication, and installation muscles across multiple scopes. In addition to the IMP, we performed the MCM, perforated screen, guardrails, curtain wall, and glass storefront. We used the insulated metal panels in large lengths which reduced the number of panels we had on the job and sped up our installation. Using the Kingspan Optimo smooth panels gives the exterior metal skin a sleek modern design.
Trying to determine if insulated metal panel is right for your project?
Here’s how it compares to precast concrete, brick, and EIFS:
- Cost Competitive
- Less Labor Required
- Complete Wall
IMP is cost competitive, especially considering it is a complete wall. Labor costs are also in IMP’s favor since it only requires one trade with relatively small crew sizes for installation.
- Endless Color Options
- Wide Range of Textures
- Wide Range of Profiles
Unlimited color options and a wide range of panel textures and profiles provide designers with almost endless options.
- One Trade Can Install
- No On-Site Curing
- Panels are Prefabbed
IMP is a complete wall and can performed by one trade, this makes it an ideal choice for fast hitting schedules.
- Superb Thermal Continuity
- Watertight Vapor Barrier
- R-Value Performance
IMPs are used with great success in the coldest and hottest climates in the world. They offer superb thermal insulation and a water/airtight system.
- Lightweight and Simple to Install
- Small Crew Sizes
- Lightweight Rigging and Hoisting Equipment
IMPs are lightweight and easy to install making them a very safe product to install on site. Rigging, hoisting, and installing can be achieved following standard safety job site protocols.
- Warranties on Coatings
- Will Not Crack or Stress
- Simple Panel Replacement Process
IMP will not crack, expand, or stress due to heat or freezing conditions. The natural malleability of steel, and flexibility the foam core, allow IMP to adjust to all weather conditions and stand the test of time.
As your experts in facade design, we like to bring our clients new, and creative ways of thinking about existing products. We hope this article has shed some light on the versatility of insulated metal panels and generated some ideas on how to approach a future project.