Kankakee Community College (KCC) recently completed construction of its North Extension Center (NEC), six miles north of the main campus in Kankakee, Illinois. The two-story, 18,350 square foot building cost $5.5 million and anchors the college’s new satellite campus in downtown Bradley, Illinois. The building envelope, which was the determining factor for NEC achieving an extremely high LEED rating and certification, was made with Kingspan insulated metal panels.
In 2007, KCC became a signatory to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment. Kankakee Community College also chose to participate at the gold level in the Illinois Sustainable University Compact. As part of both commitments it was mandated that all new construction at KCC would be built according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver standard or higher. So from the beginning design phase it was determined to have the KCC North Extension Center achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The designation, which is entirely voluntary, means the building meets new tough benchmarks for conserving energy and reusing materials.
Although it began operations for the public in February 2014, the official ribbon cutting and open house was held on May 29, 2014. At that time, documents had been filed for the structure to receive LEED Gold certification. A building is given a LEED certification score based on its environmentally friendly construction elements and processes. Gold balloons were among the decorations at the open house to celebrate the NEC’s LEED Gold features.
On Aug. 1, 2014 Kankakee Community College learned that the North Extension Center had officially earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first building in Kankakee County to earn this rating. The North Extension Center has a white synthetic roof, photovoltaic panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and radiant floor heating. Other features that contributed to obtaining LEED certification were automated temperature controls, a design that allowed abundant natural light, and an electric vehicle charging station.
But it is the thermally efficient building envelope that earned the NEC its high environmental rating. The exterior walls have an R-26 insulation value and the roof is rated R-34. This was achieved with Kingspan insulated metal panels.
Three Strong Reasons For IMPs
Demonica Kemper Architects of Chicago designed the KCC NEC and its Design Director, Greg Spitzer, identified three primary benefits of specifying Kingspan products. “Aesthetic appeal, insulating properties, and how they can be used to quickly form one complete exterior system.” The exterior walls of the Kankakee Community College North Extension Center were created with Kingspan Designwall™ 2000 insulated metal wall panels.
“They were specified for this project because Designwall 2000 IMPs feature a double-gasket shiplap joint in both vertical and horizontal usage to maximize thermal efficiency,” said Spitzer. “The Designwall™ line of architectural wall panels provides faster on-site installation time compared to traditional multi part exterior wall systems, while increasing a building's aesthetics and reducing its overall demand for energy.”
Most importantly the insulation is on the exterior of the building structure to provide the best possible thermal envelope by reducing thermal bridging typical of cavity wall systems. In addition, the wall panels feature excellent insulation core-to-core contact, which provides an unbroken thermal shield against heat transfer.
Demonica Kemper is a full-service architecture, planning, and interior design firm that have extensive experience in higher education construction projects. They used that experience to give the KCC North Extension Center an impressive look to complement its LEED Gold status. “The firm incorporated some unique design features into this project,” said Spitzer. “Metal fin wall is incorporated into the building as an organizational design element to unify the composition.”
According to Greg Spitzer, Kingspan products will become a more standard cladding material on commercial buildings in the future. “Definitely yes,” he said. “Insulated metal panels will continue to gain popularity though their economy and versatility, as well as the single point of responsibility on the exterior skin application.”
There were several features of Kingspan Designwall 2000 IMPs that contributed to the LEED point total and Path to Net-Zero Energy targets of the KCC North Extension Center. They weigh only 3 pounds per square foot, which reduces transport and installation energy. Insulated metal panels are simple to detail and attach, reducing schedules and installation errors. They contain a substantial amount of recycled content, and the panels themselves are recyclable. In fact, they last as long as the service life of a typical commercial building.
The Kankakee Community College’s North Extension Center building has been designed with many sustainable features, among them Kingspan IMPs. By achieving LEED Gold certification this structure now provides a very progressive image for the institution.