What Does Building Envelope System Integration Mean?

Originally published by: Architect MagazineJuly 8, 2019

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For increased thermal efficiency and design freedom, an integrated building envelope system can be an excellent solution for high-performing buildings. In our following discussion with Kim Snyder, Centria product manager, she explores how and why integrating windows with insulated metal panel systems (IMPs) creates design possibilities—and healthier buildings.

Exactly what is an IMP?
All IMPs, or insulated metal panels, include a metal face and liner, usually made from steel, and a rigid foam core consisting of polyisocyanurate (PIR) or polyurethane (PUR) insulation. The panels have horizontal and vertical panel joinery that interlock. Ideally, IMPs are offered in multiple thicknesses to achieve different levels of insulation, depending on the building performance needs. Centria Formawall insulation is Red List chemical free and contains no harmful halogens for a healthier built environment.

Jeff Veltman

What are some of the benefits to an advanced IMP system with integrated components?
First and foremost, this kind of system can maximize thermal and moisture protection if it is comprised of engineered, pressure-equalized joinery, concealed or redundant gaskets and sealants, and a built-in vapor barrier. Such an assembly can simplify and expedite construction in addition to offering greater aesthetic design freedom.

What makes a system advanced? 
An advanced system effectively consolidates up to six separate wall components into just one. Ideally, it will offer an air barrier, a built-in vapor barrier, robust outboard insulation, and a wide range of aesthetic options in a single, easy-to-install component. No separate or additional sheathing or extra air barrier is ever required. Formawall is an excellent example of this kind of advanced IMP system.

Additionally, an advanced system includes foamed-in-place insulation, rather than laminated—thereby creating an effective bond to steel skins, filling all voids, and producing superior panel flatness. It will feature a built-in thermal break at horizontal joints with space between the inner and outer metal skins for even greater thermal efficiency. Finally, an advanced system will have a full line of integrated components that are pre-engineered—like Formavue windows—to interface with IMP joinery and installation methodology seamlessly. These components include sunshades, louvers, and translucent daylighting systems.

Discover more at Centria.com/Formavue.

- Kim Snyder
Kim Snyder, Centria product manager–insulated metal panels, oversees strategic product planning, sales strategy and market analysis for Formawall Red-list free foam, CENTRIA’s premier insulated metal panel system, as well as industrial/commercial IMP products.

For more information on thermal performance, moisture protection and vapor barriers, visit Continuousinsulation.org.

Calculate U-factors and vapor retarder options for steel-frame wall assemblies using foam sheathing