Case Studies

Kingspan Insulated Panels, North America

Changing the performance of 21st century buildings

Go boldly into that good future.

The Kingspan Group wholeheartedly embodies this philosophy: the world’s largest manufacturer of metal panel technology, it approaches everything it does with veracity and an ingrained drive to push itself to be the best, most innovative and most sustainable that it can be, the company says.

“Having the opportunity to set a goal and hold ourselves to that standard is part of our philosophy,” says Brent Trenga, director of education and sustainability for the Deland, Florida-headquartered company.

Kingspan Insulated Panels, North America

As his title would suggest, dedication to sustainability and innovation are also part of that philosophy. The two combined have led to Kingspan’s newest product, QuadCore, an insulated wall and roof panel technology.

A feat of innovation

More than a decade of research, development and testing have gone into the proprietary product, according to Trenga. The end result: A resilient, versatile building panel which is used in exterior wall and roofs. In particular, it’s ideal for controlled environments, as it allows for precise temperature control and fire protection, and it resists mold and bacteria growth that could impact the health of building occupants.

What’s more, Trenga says, its efficient design can dramatically speed up a build, and can also ultimately help buildings achieve greener ratings.

The product is versatile in style, as well. It comes in a variety of thicknesses and with different ribbing options, as well as in a number of different colors and surface textures. Its versatility also allows it to be tailored to a building’s unique needs.

Kingspan is so confident in QuadCore, in fact, that it offers the industry’s first ever thermal performance warranty for insulated metal panels.

The product is being rolled out globally across all of Kingspan’s divisions; it is already being used in Europe, and its manufacture is in process in North America.

“We have built and are proud of having the highest performance as a premium offering,” says Trenga. “As far as innovation goes, we are always looking to differentiate ourselves in the market.”

That very philosophy has enabled the company to grow significantly over the four decades since it had its humble beginnings.

From homegrown to global

Starting out in Ireland in 1972, Kingspan was initially a small family business focused on manufacturing roll-formed sections and metal cladding for use in various structural applications. Over the decades, it expanded to insulated panels and other insulation products, concurrently broadening its base throughout the U.K., Europe and, beginning in 2006, North America.

Upon entering North America, Kingspan quickly became a large-volume seller in the U.S. It maintains its global footprint with 92 locations across the world, and it makes $3 billion in annual revenues.

Today, as Trenga noted, Kingspan is a “one-stop solution for the full [building] envelope.” It manufactures wall and roof panels and a brand of HERCULES insulated doors, all of which are accepted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). It also provides façade and window systems, column and beam covers, louvres and sunshades.

The company expects to continue growing with the introduction of QuadCore—particularly in the U.S. and Canada, where panels are an emerging technology, according to Trenga.

Achieving net zero energy

Also setting the company apart is its dedication to efficiency—it is ultimately at the core of all that Kingspan does. The company has adopted the mantra “EnvelopeFirst” (which it has trademarked). The slogan reflects its commitment to essentially wrapping a building in insulation and durable material so that it functions as safely and efficiently as possible.

And Kingspan holds itself just as equally to that high standard. In fact, it’s set an aggressive goal: To have a net zero energy impact by the year 2020. As Trenga pointed out, Kingspan’s aggregate renewable energy use was 57% of its total energy use in 2016, meaning the company is firmly on track to hit its goal. “It’s something we’re absolutely committed to,” he says.

To get there, the company is undertaking a number of initiatives: performing feasibility studies on all of its manufacturing facilities; exploring various options with renewable energy systems, such as solar panels; and undergoing upgrades to heating and cooling systems, lighting and the structures themselves. As Trenga pointed out, many of Kingspan’s plants are comprised of the very products that they create.

“We’re getting into the details of how we manufacture,” he says, “and understanding where efficiencies can be gained when it comes to repairs and or upgrades.”

Ultimately, it’s an effort that is ongoing and ever-evolving. “We’re constantly, collectively meeting as a group to understand how these goals will be met,” says Trenga. He acknowledged that, much like losing those last few pounds while on a diet, “it becomes really difficult the closer you get to 100 percent to reach that goal.”

He also stressed that, because 92 percent of Kingspan’s energy impact is from its suppliers, the emphasis has been on its supply chain. That has included the group working with some of its largest partners to understand the raw ingredients and materials that go into the products it manufactures every day—specifically, where they come from, how they’re used, and, inevitably, how those processes could be streamlined.

There’s also an education component; suppliers are being encouraged to put environmental management systems in place and to seek out renewable energy options—whether they’re on-site, off-site, or involve purchasing renewable energy credits.

“Holistically it’s a cradle to grave viewpoint,” Trenga says of the process. “We have to look at everything from our supply chain and harvesting of materials, to the manufacturing methods. You have to look all the way back and all the way forward.”

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Spring 2018



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