INSIGHT SERIES: The business case for sustainability

Innovation Centre

The draft agreement from the COP21 summit has brought building sustainability into sharp focus once more. But while the industry awaits news on subsequent legislation, Kingspan Insulated Panels has released a sustainability report incorporating progress on its net-zero energy programme to date. This report is proving the clear economic benefits of acting now on sustainability, highlighting the opportunity for the construction industry to secure a profitable future as the driving force behind our energy goals.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the drive for ever-improved building energy efficiency had paused recently, given the Government’s review of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme and the demise of the Green Deal. However, these short-term factors belie the long-term truth; the reality of achieving the targets agreed in Paris means the focus on building energy efficiency will only increase.

With buildings accounting for 40% of energy consumed in Europe, the only way we will achieve the relevant carbon and energy targets will be to dramatically improve the way we construct, renovate and occupy buildings. This presents an enormous opportunity to the sector. By demonstrating the value of better buildings, contractors, installers and manufacturers can unlock new revenue streams, and position themselves to reap the rewards as owners seek the best solutions to the inevitable rise in energy costs and upcoming legislative deadlines.

This opportunity arises through innovation in construction products and systems, making it possible to improve building energy performance and the business bottom line at the same time. At Kingspan Insulated Panels, we’ve shown how this is done through the launch of our most recent sustainability report. ‘Walk the Talk – Our Responsibility and Performance’ sets out the environmental, social and economic performance of the business for the period 2012 to 2014, as we embark on a journey to become a net-zero energy business in the UK & Ireland by 2016, and worldwide by 2020.

Among the main headlines of the report was 15GWh of energy saved by the Kingspan Group between 2013-14, and the circa €1 million added to net profit by our measures undertaken in the period. This occurred against a background of organic growth.

We contributed to achieving this through a range of measures that that have included a £2m renovation programme at our facilities in the UK & Ireland to reduce their operational energy use and associated costs. Measures also included promoting employee awareness, energy metering, building management systems, lighting upgrades with Kingspan Smartlite LED with digital addressable lighting interface (DALI) control systems, motor replacements, compressed air system upgrades, process heat control, fan optimisation measures and improved insulation.

In addition to the financial benefits of energy efficiency we have reduced our carbon emissions by 50%, sourced 34% of our energy from renewable sources in 2014, and made our sites in the UK and Ireland zero waste-to-landfill. All of which has shown that, with the right approach incorporating a review of insulation, energy use, renewable generation and supply sourcing, it is possible to make a robust business case for sustainable buildings.

So why should contractors care, beyond the obvious reasons of compliance and corporate responsibility? Because new energy efficiency solutions, like our IPN-QuadCore insulation technology or ZerO Energy Lighting, these help create more opportunities to add value to client relationships. With the changing regulatory landscape, building owners, developers and main contractors will begin to seek expertise beyond the traditional skills usually associated with specialist contractors and installers.

Those companies able to offer valuable advice on energy efficiency, sustainability and the performance merits of different products will be able to shift their customer relationships beyond the purely transactional. And those contractors able to install the wider range of products required to meet new standards of energy efficiency will find themselves best-positioned to capitalise on a growing market. Put simply, high-performance buildings represent the future of our sector; we must all play our part in making that future reality, or risk being left behind.

INSIGHT SERIES: Getting the right guarantee

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A decade ago, a 25-year guarantee would have been considered the gold standard, with many products guaranteed for far less time than that. Today, some of the industry’s leading manufacturers are offering guarantees of up to 40 years.

The reasons for this change are two-fold. Partly, it has been driven by improvements to product performance and resilience in recent years. Manufacturers are more confident offering long-term guarantees on products that stand up to rigorous longevity testing.

More than that, though, this shift towards longer guarantees has been driven by market demand. End users, whether they are building owners, occupiers or developers, have become increasingly aware of the importance of guarantees, and have higher expectations of the products specified on their buildings.

This uplift in market demand is partly because of a greater focus on the energy and carbon performance of buildings. Building owners are now much more aware of the total cost of ownership of their premises, especially given the change in energy prices over the past decade and advances in energy management systems. This greater awareness has also been driven by legislation and government incentives, with many businesses now financially impacted by the performance of their buildings.

On the whole, this increased demand for guarantees is good news for the industry. It highlights ways that the best suppliers and contractors add value to a project, and ought to drive overall standards higher. But there are still potential pitfalls out there for everybody involved in the construction industry, especially if the wrong guarantees are chosen.

What is covered?

To begin with, the guarantee must cover the most important aspects of the product’s performance. Many guarantees currently being sold as comprehensive actually only cover coatings. The coating is significant, but a guarantee that doesn’t cover performance is barely worth the paper it’s written on, especially given the market context driving guarantees today. Put simply, clients now expect the thermal and structural performance of the products to be guaranteed.

Mind the performance gap

Where a product has been chosen with a guarantee that covers performance, it is important to mind the potential gap between the figures the manufacturer guarantees and the actual in-situ performance of the product.

For example, a certain U-value may be guaranteed for a particular insulation product, but if it is installed improperly, the value will not be achieved. If later performance testing identifies this, it can cause problems between the contractor, installer, end user and manufacturer, with no simple way to determine responsibility.

Is the installer to blame if the product was not used in accordance with stringent installation guidelines? Or, with multiple manufacturers’ products in a system, which manufacturer is responsible? In the worst-case scenario, it can significantly devalue the asset, and lead to lengthy wrangling between contractors, installers and manufacturers.

Single manufacturer component systems have an advantage here, as they are covered by a single guarantee with one point of contact and responsibility. If something goes wrong with these systems, the manufacturer is very likely to take responsibility. While multi-component systems can still have long-term, comprehensive guarantees attached, there is more scope for potential grey areas.

Will the manufacturer be around in 30 years?

A final important factor to consider when assessing product guarantees is the likelihood of fulfilment should something go wrong.

The vast majority of product guarantees will never need to be used, but occasionally components do fail within their guaranteed lifespan. To plan for the potential of this happening, it is important to be confident that the manufacturer will still exist to rectify the problem in future years. This is especially pertinent now as longer guarantees mean that, in some cases, the length of warranty offered with a particular product can exceed the current age of the company offering it.


So, there are many excellent manufacturers offering product guarantees to the market, but some protect installers, contractors and building owners more than others. It is wise not to assume that your current preferred products offer the protection you expect. Take the time to check, and compare with other products on the market. Doing this, and knowing how to interrogate product guarantees across the board, could save a huge amount of hassle, company reputation and in many cases, a lot of money.

Queens University

Queens University Frontal.jpg


Location: Belfast, United Kingdom

Wall/Façade products: BENCHMARK Karrier

Finishes: Corten Steel Hook-on Cassettes

Architects Burwell Deakins designed a new extension that both complements and contrasts with the original 1950s university building. The deep copper-brown tones of the façade work well with the brick palette of the original, while the sharp, angular lines of the new structure contrast against the symmetrical regularity of the rest of the building.

Through this, they have managed to create a new space that feels designed for several future generations of students, without compromising the architectural and aesthetic heritage of the venerable university campus.

Incorporating form and function

“Fundamental to the design of the new Student Hub at Queen’s University, was the creation of a building with a strong visual identity befitting of its status as the new ‘heart’ to the existing 1950s building.”

“It was also important to provide a low carbon building, which would be able to meet the needs of both current and future students. Working with Kingspan enabled us to achieve this vision, resulting in a visually striking and high quality building envelope and a highly energy-efficient building, which will hopefully be enjoyed by generations of students to come.”

  • Burwell Deakins Architects

Queens University Top.jpg

Meeting the design challenge

Working closely with Kingspan’s technical team, a product solution was found to meet all of the design requirements for the building. The project design team faced a significant challenge to meet the required shape, style and performance in the specification, all within a tight construction schedule which made specifying the right products for the job vital.

Corten Steel is a weathered steel façade that naturally rusts over time, creating a highly durable, protective coating with a striking finish reminiscent of Belfast’s shipbuilding past. This made it the ideal choice for the project, as it met both the aesthetic and the functional requirements of the brief.

Pince Vent Shopping Centre

Voeux Mairie de la Mairie de paris 20e

Darty – Animalis, Chennevière-sur-Marne, panneaux : Benchmark Evolution Axis


Location: Chenneviere sur Marne, France

Wall/Façade products: BENCHMARK Evolution Axis

With many large brands preparing to occupy the new commercial centre, the speed at which the building was installed was paramount.

Unlike traditional multiple-component rainscreen systems, the BENCHMARK Evolution range offers single-component, factory-assembled panels that can be quickly and easily fitted with the aid of mechanical lifting equipment through a single-fix installation process.

Kingspan Chennevière-sur-Marne

Darty – Animalis, Chennevière-sur-Marne, panneaux : Benchmark Evolution Axis

Meeting the design challenge

A standard metal structure was used, but the panels were anything but standard. With vertical installation, curved panels and a range of colours, the architect was able to create a unique building that fits in perfectly with its surroundings.

BENCHMARK Evolution Axis is a highly streamlined, sleek unprofiled insulated panel system; the perfect solution for achieving a minimalist façade on buildings with large surface areas.

Smooth and flawless in appearance, BENCHMARK Evolution Axis is available in 1mm width increments from 600mm to 1000mm, and can be installed either vertically or horizontally to achieve the desired effect.

BENCHMARK Evolution Axis panels are the only insulated panels in the French market to have succeeded in meeting the rigorous evaluation of the Commission Centrale de Securité (CSS); allowing installation in certain ERP buildings and ensuring that all stakeholders benefit from the advantages of insulated panel.

INSIGHT SERIES: Unlocking BREEAM credits with IPNQuadCore


With 40% of Europe’s carbon emissions attributed to building stock, it is no surprise that developers and owners are under increasing pressure from regulators and the wider public to create sustainable buildings that deliver better environmental performance.

As anyone in the construction industry will know, BREEAM is the world’s most recognised environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. So, whether requested by the client or encouraged by the architect, more and more buildings are being designed to achieve either ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’ BREEAM ratings.

Its up to manufacturers like Kingspan to play their part by providing the products and systems that help specifiers and contractors accrue the number of BREEAM credits required to achieve these ratings.


IPNQuadCore is a great example of this. IPNQuadCore is Kingspan’s most significant insulated panel technology breakthrough in a decade and offers the best thermal, fire and environmental performance of any closed-cell material.

IPNQuadCore delivers a thermal improvement of up to 20% over standard polyurethane insulated panel core insulation and has an industry-leading lambda value of just 0.018W/m.K, achieving U-values as low as 0.08W/m2K.

This performance means that an enhanced IPNQuadCore building envelope can help achieve six more BREEAM credits in Ene 01 than a typical retail or distribution warehouse.  So, with the difference between a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ and ‘outstanding’ being four credits, it is clear to see how innovations like IPNQuadCore are making the difference.

With 40% of Europe’s carbon emissions attributed to building stock, it is no surprise that developers and owners are under increasing pressure from regulators and the wider public to create sustainable buildings that deliver better environmental performance.

As anyone in the construction industry will know, BREEAM is the world’s most recognised environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. So, whether requested by the client or encouraged by the architect, more and more buildings are being designed to achieve either ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’ BREEAM ratings.

Its up to manufacturers like Kingspan to play their part by providing the products and systems that help specifiers and contractors accrue the number of BREEAM credits required to achieve these ratings.

IPNQuadCore is a great example of this. IPNQuadCore is Kingspan’s most significant insulated panel technology breakthrough in a decade and offers the best thermal, fire and environmental performance of any closed-cell material.

IPNQuadCore delivers a thermal improvement of up to 20% over standard polyurethane insulated panel core insulation and has an industry-leading lambda value of just 0.018W/m.K, achieving U-values as low as 0.08W/m2K.

This performance means that an enhanced IPNQuadCore building envelope can help achieve six more BREEAM credits in Ene 01 than a typical retail or distribution warehouse. So, with the difference between a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ and ‘outstanding’ being four credits, it is clear to see how innovations like IPNQuadCore are making the difference.

INSIGHT SERIES: How to create a Net-Zero Energy building


Kingspan Office.jpg

Five years ago, Kingspan pledged to become a Net-Zero Energy business by 2020. The initiative is extraordinary in scale as it means our operations must generate as much energy as they consume, across all four company divisions and in 85 different countries.

At its heart, our Net-Zero Energy programme is very public commitment to practise what we preach – and demonstrate that by using our products and solutions, it’s possible to reduce carbon emissions and increase profitability.

To date, we’re well on track to achieve this goal and have already seen a hugely positive impact on our business. Since the pledge was made in 2011, Kingspan Insulated Panels has reduced its carbon emissions by almost 50% across the world. In the UK, emissions have been cut from 12,883 tCO2 in 2013 to just 5,719 tCO2 in 2014 – a 57% saving. And in 2014, over 34% of energy came from renewable sources, with carbon emissions from non-renewable electricity down 44%.

Alongside these environmental benefits, there has also been a clear financial justification for the programme. At a Kingspan Group level, the energy efficiency measures undertaken between 2013 and 2014 saved 15GWh throughout the year, adding circa €1 million to our net profit.

We believe that all businesses should consider working towards Net-Zero. Whether it’s achieving Net-Zero status across an entire business, or within a particular site, the benefits are now proven. So, what are the steps for creating a Net-Zero Energy building?

At Kingspan, we follow a defined three-step process to help our customers, and ourselves, to achieve NZE. While the process is always the same, the measures taken will vary widely depending on the context of the building; its location, climate, orientation, size, usage and future plans. Simplified, the process is as follows:

  •  Energy Efficiency through EnvelopeFirst and Optimised Building Services


The first step is to minimise building energy use through optimising insulation and airtightness performance of the building envelope for its intended life, while also ensuring the building services, including lighting, are geared to energy efficient operation.

  •  Insulate & Generate


The second stage further reduces the building’s consumption through additional enhancements to its fabric, while renewable energy systems are added to further reduce its overall energy footprint. Low or zero carbon technologies, such as rooftop solar PV, thermal air heating, wind or heat pump systems, are generally considered at this stage.

  •  Net-Zero Energy Buildings


The final stage ensures that the overall annual performance of the building balances out. This usually involves enhancing the on-site renewable energy producing technologies, and may require investment in off-site energy saving schemes.

Follow the process correctly, and it is possible to achieve Net-Zero Energy for almost any building. As more businesses understand the benefits of Net-Zero Energy, the demand for solutions from clients is likely to increase. Savvy architects and specifiers should get to grips with NZE now to stay ahead of the curve.

Plopsaqua Water Park

Plopsaqua Frontal.jpg


Location: De Panne, Belgium

Wall products: Architectural Wall Panel, Mini-Micro

Finishes: Kingspan XL Forté (Deep Blue, Denim, Midnight, Pastel Blue)

Visually Exciting

Fun, colour and inspiration was at the heart of this design, with an emphasis on appealing to children and the younger generation. The idea behind this project was to create colourful and inspiring shapes, all concentrated around a simple yet appealing structure. Our panels gave the designer the freedom to incorporate different shades of blue to reflect the water environment on the inside.

The result is a playful eye-catching design, providing a real flagship building that represents the values of the client.

Faster Construction

As a significant summertime attraction, adhering to strict time restrictions during the construction process on this project was crucial. Deadlines were fixed and communicated in press and national media, meaning the advantages in build speed associated with our insulated wall panels were vital in meeting the strict timelines.

Design Solutions

One of the most important aspects of the project was the flawless integration of windows and water slides. Naturally water tightness was essential and highlights the flexibility of our insulated wall panel systems in even the most uncommon of applications. Co-ordinating flashings were fabricated to match the colour scheme of the panels, perfectly representing the designed scheme.

Plopsaqua Slides.jpg

Protection Against the Elements

Belgium’s warm climate was not the only element that needed to be considered when choosing an appropriate coating, as it was imperative to also ensure the panels would withstand the corrosive nature of the swimming pool’s internal environment.

Our Kingspan XL Forté coating was specified, offering a functional protection, ideal for this specific aqua application.

Under the Kingspan Ultimate Panel Guarantee, our XL Forté coating range can be guaranteed for up to 40 years depending on application. This range consists of a variety of protective PVC coatings with a leather-grain effect, and is available in an inspiring selection of colours.


Australian National Maritime Museum Warship Pavilion

Australian Maritime Museum.jpg


Location: Sydney, Australia

Wall/Façade products: BENCHMARK Evolution

Finishes: Woodland Grey

The project brief was for a building that made an architectural statement, yet did not overpower the vessels adjacent and integral to the Pavilion. The form was inspired by the techniques and geometrical rigour of boat building while the conceptual approach closely referenced the wake of a boat as it passes though the water.

Incorporating Form and Function

Almost an art installation, the use of BENCHMARK Evolution insulated panels enabled architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (fjmtstudio) to design a unique statement building which delivered outstanding thermal performance and the ability to withstand a corrosive marine environment.

BENCHMARK by Kingspan’s insulated panels unite high aesthetic values with high performance. The technical excellence of our science led research and development facilities allow us to offer industry leading guarantees.

Meeting the Challenges of Design

  • Colourfast in the harsh marine environment of Darling Harbour.
  • Slim design maximised useable internal space with no loss of thermal resistance values.
  • Provided an external and internal face.
  • Spans large distance with no unsightly joints.
  • Seamlessly integrated with a glass oculus creating unique installation challenges and complex joint geometry.

Australian Maritime Museum Frontal.jpg

Strong Design Intent

The 891m2 of Evolution BENCHMARK panels provided a single façade component in which foam insulation lay at the heart of a finished internal lining and an external face. Kingspan delivered a series of complex geometrical rotations of 1m wide panels that tackled the complex design whilst delivering a watertight external skin.

“The panels had not previously been used in this way which provided an opportunity to rethink how the product could be adapted to suit the technical challenges, while still maintaining the very strong design intent.” James Perry, Senior Associate at fjmtstudio.

The Kingspan Technical team worked closely with fjmtstudio and specialist subcontractors JML Engineered Façades (NSW) to develop a complex design with custom vertical joint details.




Storagebase Frontal.jpg



Project overview

A £5million Storagebase self storage facility adjacent to Junction 9 of the M6 motorway in Wednesbury, the latest addition in an extensive re-development of the area. With a total of 5,200m2 of Kingspan insulated panels used on the walls and roof of the build, a distinctive landmark has been created in this corner of the West Midlands.

Design stage

The brightly-coloured storage facility was brought to life using an array of Kingspan products including Architectural Wall Panels, Mini-Micro in Kingspan Spectrum Citroen Red, Pearl & Adventura, and Trapezoidal Roof panels in Kingspan XL Forté Goosewing Grey. This variety of colour gives the building a striking appearance, with the arrangement of the panels reflecting the modular nature of the building’s interior.

Build stage

Spanning seven floors, the building provides over forty different sized rooms for customers’ belongings. With a large amount of personal property being kept within the building at all times, safety and durability of the products used in the construction were of the utmost importance. It was for these reasons that Kingspan Insulated Panels products were chosen.

The Trapezoidal Roof panels selected maintain excellent standards across thermal insulation (Green Guide A+ rated by the BRE), fire safety (LPCB and FM Approved) and air tightness. All of this contributes to the long-term integrity of the products, meaning the building owner can be confident of a stable and secure internal environment. This is an essential factor in the storage of customers’ possessions that can be damaged by fluctuating internal temperatures or moisture.

Storagebase full


Simon Hallowell, Director from Hallford Refurbishments Ltd said: “Using Kingspan insulated panels with contrasting colours was a relatively simple way to create a visually stunning and unique building. Kingspan provided valuable assistance on the Storagebase project during the initial design work and also helped us overcome some of the challenging access issues on-site.” – Simon Hallowell, Director, Hallford Refurbishments Ltd

“Functionality and speed-of-construction will always come first for storage buildings, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be interesting architecturally too. The team at Hallford Refurbishments have done an excellent job in showing what can be achieved with Kingspan Insulated Roof & Wall Panels and a little bit of imagination, creating a building that prioritises form as well as function.” – Martin Robinson, National Sales Manager, Kingspan Insulated Panels

Queen Alia International Airport



Project overview

The award-winning new terminal at Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, is a potent symbol of the growth of Jordan’s economy. The $750m project was designed to replace three existing, outdated terminals at the site – creating an ultramodern new gateway to the wider region, and supporting enormous passenger growth over the next 25 years.

Kingspan’s technical team worked closely with contractors J&P Ltd to deliver a bespoke engineering solution to bring Foster + Partners’ architectural vision for the terminal to life. Together, they created an environmentally sensitive landmark that makes a lasting first impression on visitors from both the ground and in the air.

Design stage

Foster + Partners’ vision was to create a terminal building to reflect the importance of the airport as an important gateway to the Levant, while remaining sensitive to regional tastes and the environment.

The main feature of the building design is the tessellated roof canopy, which extends to provide shade for the façades. This consists of 127 shallow curved concrete domes, inspired by Bedouin tents, which branch out from supporting columns like palm leaves. The domes are covered by unique, double-curved steel ‘petals’. Daylight enters the building beneath through split beams at the column junctions, while a geometric pattern based on traditional Islamic forms appears on each exposed soffit.

The local climate presented a challenge for the energy performance of the terminal, with dramatic variations in summer day and night time temperatures an issue. To resolve this, the main bulk of the building is constructed entirely from concrete, the high thermal mass of which provides passive environmental control. To protect the dark-coloured roof from expansion and high heat gain during the day, a 300mm void was specified between the steel standing seam system and the precast concrete shells, which were in turn insulated and covered with a single-ply weatherproof membrane. The void was then ventilated with a series of 50mm holes drilled into the centre of each dome, designed to encourage convection to prevent the space from becoming too warm.

Build stage

A bespoke engineered solution was required to meet the complex technical, aesthetic and environmental brief, but with Kingspan’s expertise the complex double-curved 3D roof design became a reality.

The Kingspan Insulated Panels technical team worked with project contractors J&P Ltd to design a solution using the KingZip SF standing seam system. KingZip SF was the ideal solution for this project because its flexibility allows architects to meet almost any design need. It is available in multiple metal types and paint system finishes, and an enormous variety of lengths, widths and curvatures.

A lightweight steel structure was created, covered with KingZip SF standing seam sheets, which were curved from the eaves to the apex, and on the opposite side from the apex to the eaves. This layout met all of the necessary criteria, forming the roof’s unique double-curved petal shape and maintaining the 300mm void between the standing seam sheets and the concrete shells. The lightweight steel frame designed to support the standing seam system needed to be strong enough to accommodate the negative wind loadings possible across the entire 45,000m2 roof.

Kingspan prepared all of the working drawings for the standing seam and designed the supporting steel arrangement. During installation, the team was on hand to modify the design for individual domes where variance occurred in the concrete substructure, using curved tapered sheets and packers to ensure the desired appearance was maintained.


 The new building opened in 2013, and has already become an essential infrastructure node for Jordan and the wider region. It is enabling the airport to fulfil its passenger growth targets of 6% per annum for the next 25 years, boosting annual capacity from 3 million to 12.8 million by 2030.

As soon as we got the brief in from Foster + Partners, we knew we wanted to speak with the team at Kingspan Insulated Panels. We’ve worked together on a number of different projects before, and we know that Kingspan delivers, when we need unique, high performance structural solutions for our clients.”J&P Ltd

 Queen Alia International Airport Exterior


Awarded “Best Improvement by Region: Middle East” and “Best Airport by Region: Middle East” in the Airport Council International ‘Airport Service Quality Survey’.

Winner in Transport category, Cityscape Architectural Review Awards