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IMPs Become Go-To Choice For Distribution Facilities And Data Centers During The Pandemic

By Kingspan Insulated Metal Panels North America

The year was 2020. The roadways were deserted, curbside pick-up became the norm and most goods were just one click away. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted consumer spending habits so much, e-commerce business jumped 32% that year alone, accelerating economic growth by nearly two years, according to eMarketer data. With all those packages arriving at doorsteps came the need for more distribution centers.

The pandemic further shifted day-to-day routines with many employees working from home. There was a sudden need for data centers to handle the huge increase in web traffic from remote workers, plus advances in technology like autonomous vehicles and 5G. With construction delays and supply chain problems rampant, the need for building materials that provide fast, all-in-one solutions became apparent.

Despite the pandemic, a recent report from CBRE found that 2020 was the second-best year on record for data center leasing, and investment in data center real estate is skyrocketing. 2021 may be on pace to become the best year ever.

A similar trend is happening in the food-storage warehouse sector. According to Emergen Research, the cold-storage construction market is expected to grow to more than $18 billion in 2027, more than double its $7 billion size in 2019. That demand is being driven by consumers turning to online grocery shopping, another trend driven by the pandemic.

Insulated metal panels are the ideal choice for distribution and data center building envelopes. They fast-track the construction process by eliminating multi-component wall systems and reducing the number of trades necessary for installation. They address the need for thermal protection, provide barriers for air and vapor and moisture, and do it all in one product. The speed of build is critical to keep up with demand. As more companies decide to move their workforces entirely remote and people continue to shop online, warehouses and distribution centers will continue to rise.


Kingspan’s KarrierPanel utilizes the KarrierRail system, which transmits loads from a wide range of façade options to structural supports behind the KarrierPanel. They slide into place in a way that simplifies the entire construction process, which is critical when pressed for time. Panels can be oriented horizontally or vertically with many different finishes, allowing each facility to incorporate company colors and/or branding.

With warehouses and data centers also come the need for temperature control. Keeping environments cool and dry is critical, especially for data centers. If the servers overheat, entire companies can be taken offline. IMPs provide a high level of thermal performance that is unrivaled. They also offer supreme protection from the elements, like wind, rain and moisture, which all pose a threat to data centers. Kingspan’s KS Series panels have tongue and groove interlocking joints that, when sealed, provide exceptional thermal protection with R-values as high as 8 per inch, when equipped with one of the most thermally efficient insulation cores on the market, QuadCore®. This offers an 11% better thermal performance than standard PIR insulation core, giving building owners the reassurance that they have maximum control over the climate.

As an all-in-one solution, IMPs also provide exceptional fire protection and superior hygienic environments for warehouses, distribution centers and data centers. Interior walls are easily cleaned and disinfected. With concerns about COVID-19, more facilities are cleaned more often. Coatings are available to ensure extra protection against corrosion, a special concern for many cold storage environments that require heavy sanitization.

Kingspan’s Planet Passionate goal is to produce panels at manufacturing facilities that rely entirely on renewable energy. The company is already on its way with one North American plant relying on wind and another about to go with on-site solar. The metal used in IMPs can also be recycled at the end of their lifecycle. As a composite material, the IMPs themselves can be reused, which lessens their environmental impact in the future. In Modesto, California, Kingspan’s QuadCore® self-blended hybrid insulation core is manufactured using recycled PET water bottles, providing an additional benefit to the environment, while providing superior thermal protection. There is reduced embodied carbon, which allows a faster build with long-term environmental benefits, when compared to concrete.

As more companies rush to expand their offerings to customers, whether through online infrastructure or through a distribution center in an underserved area, they need large buildings that can be constructed quickly. Insulated metal panels check every box as an all-encompassing solution that provide exceptional thermal efficiency and fire protection. Some leading IMPs are manufactured with the environment in mind, so even in keeping up with today’s shopping and working trends, the building material weighs the impact on tomorrow.

About Kingspan Insulated Panels - North America


Kingspan Insulated Panels – North America is a business unit of Kingspan, a global company operating in more than 80 countries, with over 200 manufacturing facilities. Kingspan Insulated Panels – North America manufactures and markets three groups of products at its U.S., Canadian and Mexican facilities: insulated metal wall and roof panel systems for commercial/industrial construction; insulated architectural panel and façade systems for design-driven projects; and controlled environment panels and doors for cold-storage and climate-controlled warehousing. In addition to its commitment to quality and innovation, the company is on the leading edge of the sustainability movement, offering best-of-class products produced in state-of-the-art, eco-friendly facilities. To learn more visit  www.kingspanpanels.us.

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