The versatility of insulated metal panels

The Kenworth Truck Dealership utilized black and red insulated metal panels, a unique colour combination specific to them. Photos courtesy Kingspan Metal Products
This Albertan Kenworth Truck Dealership utilized black and red insulated metal panels (IMPs), to create a specific colour combination. Photos courtesy Kingspan Metal Products

By Cormac Mullane and Andrew Toma
Insulated metal panels (IMPs) can be an effective way to improve energy efficiency and create a pleasing esthetic, which is why they are used in a variety of different projects. These two case studies provide examples of this cladding assembly’s benefits.

Kenworth Trucks dealership
To sell big rigs, a big building is essential. While most vehicle dealerships are naturally larger-sized building projects, the construction of a new Kenworth dealership in Leduc, Alta., meant creating a super-sized facility capable of showcasing commercial heavy-duty trucks in all their glory.

The design is similar to traditional vehicle dealerships, but on a much larger scale. The building houses a sizable showroom, business offices, and vehicle wash bays.

Construction on the massive truck dealership began in 2013. Design plans called for a high-performance building envelope composed of IMPs in mixed orientations in the company’s colour palette. This created the first challenge, because Kenworth’s corporate colors are black and red, and nearly 90 per cent of the exterior cladding area required black panels. However, flat panels and flat metal sidings are typically not produced in dark colours, especially black. Darker hues have a much greater surface emissivity than lighter colours, which creates significantly higher surface temperatures. Higher surface temperatures on flat metal can result in difficulties during installation and the handling of the panels.

This emissivity challenge was overcome by utilizing the non-flat profile insulated metal panels, which provided the ideal solution. These IMPs provided design flexibility and high thermal performance, and were a perfect fit with new and retrofit applications across the commercial and industrial market sectors.

 For the dealership, a mix of IMPs were specified to meet the defined needs of the various building areas in terms of fire safety, temperature, and moisture. The 50-mm (2-in.) thick and 1066-mm (42-in.) wide panels, in black and silver, were used on the wash bay building and the warehouse portion of the main building. The finish incorporated into these IMPs helps protect against the wash bays’ harsh environment of fluctuating temperatures and regular contact with water. Panels that were 100 mm (4 in.) thick and 914 mm (36 in.) wide were used for the showroom area of the main building. For the interior of both buildings, 50-mm (2-in.) panels were used in conjunction with panels in both 100-mm (4-in.) and 150-mm (6-in.) thicknesses. These panels are fire-rated and made from a mineral wool core bonded with metal facings, suitable for such applications. For the accent ‘eyebrow,’ 50-mm (2-in.) thick and 914-mm (36-in.) wide panels were used.

The IMPs can be placed both vertically and horizontally. Here the panels are horizontal behind the Kenworth logo.

Again, these panels are flexible and can be installed both vertically and horizontally, which was a necessity in the Kenworth Trucks dealership project. To match the corporate hues, a specific custom black colour with a metallic sheen was developed, to help reflect heat away from the insulated building panel surfaces.

The IMPs used in the Kenworth project are single-component products—manufactured off-site and delivered ready to install—which minimizes construction delays and produces faster onsite installation times compared to multi-component wall systems. By arriving ready for installation, build times can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent.

The panels also provide high R-values, superior airtightness, and low thermal bridging, resulting in energy cost savings of as much as 30 per cent over traditional multi part built-up wall systems while increasing a building’s overall modern appeal. The panels specified for the project have no gaps or pockets between the panels, which helps form the much-desired continuous insulation shield for the structure.

Now open for business, the Kenworth Trucks dealership is the Edmonton area’s source for those in the commercial truck market. The iconic black and red structure has become a corporate showcase for the company—and the place to purchase a ‘big-rig’ in climate-controlled comfort and style.

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