Insulated Metal Panels and WELL Building Standard -The Unrivaled Building Envelope Solution

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) have gained increasing popularity within the last few years, combining multiple building components in one system. This greatly increases the building envelope assembly speed and hosts a variety of performance benefits. Contrary to conventional building construction, IMPs contain a vapor, water, air, and thermal blockade layer all in one enclosed system which one trade usually installs. In addition, with foam cores such as PIR or a hybrid PIR you see high R-values per inch which translates into decreased energy use and superior air/weather tightness. 
 
How can the use of insulated metal panels help me achieve a WELL Building Certification? 
 
The WELL Building Standard is composed of Preconditions and Features that once achieved contribute to the "health and wellness" of the building occupants. Like LEED certification, WELL also focuses on green and sustainable practices, though has the focus on the health of the building occupants. A WELL certification can be implemented on different building types and construction stages through the three different project types; New and Existing Buildings, New and Existing Interiors, Core and Shell.
 
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Air

Feature 04, VOC Reduction - 

A precondition for all three project types, this feature is essential to achieve for a WELL Building Certification. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can cause indoor air pollution from the leaching of paints, finishes, cleaning equipment, and various other products. This can cause irritation to building occupants and in some cases serious illnesses.
 
Insulated metal panels are considered a closed assembly, which means VOCs cannot leak. In addition, many of the larger IMP manufactures have published statements regarding their VOC
position. For example, Kingspan’s PIR and QuadCore products are GREENGUARD Gold certified which states they have zero VOC emission levels.
 
In addition, this manufacturer can supply the project with low/zero VOC emitting butyl sealant which would further contribute to part 4 of this feature.   
 
 
Feature 12, Moisture Management 
Moisture intrusion can create serious problems which will lead to poor heath of the building occupants. Mold, poor indoor air quality, and mildew are to name a few.
Let’s look at the applicable parts:
 
Part 3: Condensation Management
Insulated metal panels offer vapor management strategies through their dual steel skins. Condensation is not possible within the IMP assembly due to the use of “closed cell foam” and the air impenetrable joinery. In addition, since the inner steel skin’s temperature would be above the dew point, condensation is not an issue. This would also help address the required narrative in Part 4: Material Selection and Protection of this feature.
 
 
Feature 14, Air Infiltration Management 
An optimization for all three project types, this feature can help a team achieve higher levels of WELL Certification such as Gold or Platinum. As the feature states, a leaky building envelope can lead to problems such as mold, air pollution, or even pests.
 
The beauty of using IMPs is that the water, air, vapor, and thermal control layers all combine into one assembly. In addition, factory built in joinery, gaskets, and concealed caulk placement creates an exceptional air and weather tight building envelope.
 
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Light

Using an insulated metal panel integrated window system can help you achieve a variety of features within the Light concept. Like the panels themselves, integrated glazing allows architects and designers maximum flexibility and control over the design and wall-window ratio. The uniqueness of these assimilated systems can help a design team practically accomplish most if not all features within the Light Concept.
 
Feature 61, Right to Light
According to WELL, receiving access to proper levels of sunlight can host a variety of benefits to the human organism from neurological, hormonal, and visual system aspects. This optimization states in part 2: 75% of workstations should be within 7.5m of a window or atrium. In addition, 95% of workstations should be placed somewhere within 12.5m of windows or an atrium.
 
Luckily, this feature can easily be achieved with integrated window systems that seamlessly install within the IMP building envelope. An example of this system is BENCHMARK By Kingspan Flushglaze Window Systems.
 
These systems offer easy installation through compatible joinery and allow for an unbroken, continuous, high performance building envelope.
 
Feature 63, Daylighting Fenestration
If achieved, this optimization can help a team excel in the WELL Standard through Gold or Platinum building accreditation. This features goal is to maximize a building occupant’s exposure to natural light while reducing glare.
 
As stated previously, these integrated glazing systems offer teams complete design flexibility. Particularly, part 1 of this feature highlights window-wall ratios and glazing distance from the floor. This is effortlessly realized due to the adaptability of these systems through an architect’s modeling. 
 
Comfort
Feature 74, Exterior Noise Intrusion
According to the WELL Building Standard, noise can cause serious stress in building occupants which can lead to severe consequences. Noise pollution has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and heart attacks. This precondition specifies that outside noise intrusion cannot be higher than 50 dBA.
 
Insulated metal panels can come in a variety of core materials which includes acoustical mineral fiber. For instance, Kingspan’s MF QT Acoustical panel features an STC (sound transmission coefficient) value of 31 for a 4” panel increasing by a factor of 1 for every 2 inches. Depending on the finished wall assembly, this precondition can be easily achieved with IMPs, even in noisy environments.
 
 
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Mind

Feature 97, Material Transparency 

WELL believes, just like the food we consume, materials and finishes should also be held to the same ingredient labeling standard. This optimization states that at least 50% of interior finishes, furnishings, and furniture should be held to the specified feature standards. These standards include: Declare Label, Heath Product Declaration, and methods described in LEED BD+C Building product disclosure and optimization - material ingredients credit.
  • Kingspan’s Insulated Metal Panels Featuring QuadCore feature a Cradle to Cradle Silver Certified and is 100% Red List Free 
It’s a fact, younger generations like Gen-Z and Millennials are holding a greater importance on sustainability and climate change. These individuals will soon become building material customers, designers, architects, and specifiers. Building certifications like WELL are without a doubt going to become more popular as these generations start to enter the market. When perusing a WELL certification, why not increase your building speed, energy efficiency, and environmentally consciousness with the use of IMPs!

*Based on WELL Building Standard v1
 
 
 
 

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