The future is green in Spokane, Washington, with the opening of the Catalyst Building on September 17, 2020. The net-zero-carbon, zero-energy Eastern Washington University building aims to set a new standard for eco-friendly materials and design. A featured
element of its construction is KarrierPanel insulated metal panels from Kingspan Insulated Panels.
The 159,000 square foot building is a space for students, professors and staff to innovate, but also serves as a lesson in green architecture for all. It is pending certification by the International Living Future Institute as one of the largest zero-carbon,
zero-energy buildings in North America. From the inside-out, all technology and materials contribute in some way to reducing carbon emissions. The cross-laminated timber structure, a joint venture between Michael Green Architecture,
Katerra and McKinstry, absorbs carbon, rather than emitting it.
The Catalyst Building is part of Avista Development’s grand plan to create an Eco District, where the building and its next-door neighbor share a centralized heating, cooling and electrical system that relies on solar panels, battery and thermal
storage, as well as sensors throughout the building that provide feedback in real-time. The building uses no fossil fuels, and instead, produces its own energy.
The Catalyst Building utilizes 35,000 square feet of Kingspan’s KarrierPanel insulated metal panels (IMPs) in order to create a tight building envelope with maximum thermal efficiency to further reduce energy usage. But that was not the original
plan. Initially, architects discussed using mineral fiber panels, but realized the panel thickness would become excessive in order to reach the R-value needed for this innovative project. Kingspan’s KarrierPanel comes in a variety of thicknesses,
ranging from 2” to 6” and can deliver R-values as high as 8 per inch when equipped with Kingspan’s
Kingspan aims to be a resource for building owners and architects looking to design and retrofit buildings with a focus on reducing energy consumption and carbon output. Kingspan discussed with architects how its IMPs not only help with building performance
but are manufactured with an emphasis on lowering their embodied carbon content. Through Kingspan’s Planet Passionate project, the company
is aggressively decreasing its carbon emissions in its manufacturing and business operations through increasing its use of direct renewable energy, reducing CO2 emissions from its suppliers and using recycled materials in its products.
For the Catalyst Building, Kingspan’s IMPs not only come with a reduction in embodied carbon but can reduce carbon emissions in the years to come. IMPs can be reused and recycled, furthering the building’s mission, when it nears the end of
its life cycle.
“You’re going to hear over the next several months, maybe even years, a lot of stories about this project because of the example it sets,” said Craig Kurtis, President of Katerra Architecture, at the building’s dedication.
For all the stakeholders, including Eastern Washington University, there are hopes that the Catalyst Building will create not just jobs, but a gold standard for green buildings.