Keep Your Cool: The Energy Efficiency of Insulated Metal Panels

Posted by , GSP Marketing on April 25, 2022
GSP Marketing

Insulated metal panels (IMPs) shine brightest when it comes to energy efficiency with their built-in insulation, high R-values, low thermal conductivity, and all-in-one air, water, and vapor barrier.

IMPs are not only a green solution that can help your building qualify for LEED certification, but they can help building owners control rising energy bills by lowering heating and cooling costs.

How energy efficient are IMPs? When the heat is on, the cold storage industry, whose livelihood depends on thermal efficiency, turns to IMPs.

“IMPs are the preferred method of construction for buildings in which refrigerated or other low temperature-controlled interior environments are required,” says Metal Construction News. “One reason for this is because they have the highest insulating value per inch of all metal wall insulating products. IMPs' continuous insulation values and built-in thermal breaks can significantly lower a building's energy costs and overall operating costs, provided they are installed correctly.”

IMPs Shine When the Heat is On

The folks at State Farm Insurance that insure buildings for a living, say that metal roofs reflect the sun’s UV and infrared rays that contribute to roof surface radiant heat, which can result in a 10 to 25 percent reduction in cooling costs.

While traditional roofing materials such as shingles or asphalt tend to absorb the sun’s rays and transfer the heat to the building, metal has a natural reflective quality.

Something that is quite evident if you ever took a Sunday drive in Texas on a summer day and saw the sun shimmering off contemporary Hill Country homes and their metal roofs in the distance.

Earth911 website says that researchers (who did more than take a Sunday drive!) did a bunch of fancy tests and found a 45 percent decrease in the flow of heat with a metal roof and up to a 25 percent reduction in cooling costs.

IMPs Built-In Insulation and Thermal Performance

IMPs’ built-in insulation plays a pivotal supporting role in IMPs thermal performance.

“IMPs have a foam core that can provide a thermal performance of R-7 per inch or greater. This R-value is impressive when you look at the typical thermal resistance of other types of insulation,” says the Metal Construction Association Continuing Education Center.

Some IMPs can exceed that R-7 per inch with Green Span Profiles MesaLine IMPs, for example, delivering an R-value thickness of R-8 per inch. Tests have shown that MesaLine IMPs provide R-values between 44.05 at 75 degrees and 47.35 at 35 degrees with 6-inch panel thickness.

IMPs All-in-One Air, Water and Vapor Barrier

If you live in Texas or just about anywhere in the south, you understand that it isn’t just the sun’s rays that factor into how warm it gets in the summer, but the humidity plays a big role.

When it is very humid out, there is a lot of moisture in the air, and it is hard for people to cool down as sweat will not evaporate on your skin. That’s why the humidity index is often called The Misery Index.

Buildings can feel miserable in humid weather as well.

“Home energy efficiency is often dominated by discussions about cooling and heating, which account for about 48 percent of energy costs in the average home. However, when your air has too much moisture, your home may feel warmer than the actual air temperature. Any discussion of energy efficiency, especially in a humid climate, must take moisture control into account,” says

One of the best ways to combat the humidity is to make sure your building envelope is tight, keeping warm air and moisture out of the inside.

IMPs protect your building envelope by providing an all-in-one air, water, and vapor barrier system.

“IMPs are installed using a complete concealed fastener system that typically includes the vapor barrier, air barrier and water barrier on the warm side, or ambient side, of the space. The vapor seals are critical to stopping heat conductance between cold areas and the warmer, ambient side of the wall,” explains Metal Construction News.

Heat Wave: IMPs are a Green Choice for the Future

IMPs can help your building qualify for local, state, and federal energy incentives and are a green choice for the future.

As a bonus, metal building materials produce a low carbon footprint, making them a great selection for those pledging to become carbon neutral.

And the heat appears to be staying with us as 2021 tied for the sixth hottest year on record according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

With the 10 hottest years on record all being logged since 2010, builders need to find a way to coexist with the heat and IMPs are a sustainable solution.

“IMPs are an ideal option to clad building envelopes due to their superior insulation value, high-performance air barrier, aesthetics, design flexibility and ease of installation. Providing an all-in-one continuous insulation system, IMPs serve as an exterior rainscreen, air and moisture barrier, and thermal insulation that reduces mold and corrosion,” writes Metal Construction News senior editor Mark Robins.

Contact Green Span Profiles today to find out more about how IMPs can make your next building project energy efficient.

Topics: Cold Storage, Insulated Metal Panels, Metal Roofing, Construction