Dimond Park Aquatic Center


The ACCEL-E® Steel Thermal Efficient Panel (S.T.E.P.) wall system, manufactured by Pittsburgh-based SYNTHEON Inc., comprises the building envelope (nearly 20,000 square feet of exterior walls) for a new swimming facility, the Dimond Park Aquatic Center, in Juneau, AK.

The 37,500-square-foot facility, opened in May 2011, boasts two swimming pools, a dry heat sauna, a workout area and, coming in Spring 2012, a whirlpool. The lap pool, sometimes used for competitive swimming events, is maintained at 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The leisure pool is kept at 89º F, while the sauna, which seats 20, is maintained at 170º F.

The project manager for the City and Borough of Juneau, Catherine Wilkins, calls the SYNTHEON ACCEL-E wall system “absolutely a terrific choice” for the project. “It’s helping to keep our energy costs where we want them to be,” says Wilkins, who holds a degree in architecture.

“We have been very pleased,” says Wilkins. “I personally was extremely impressed by how fast the wall system was installed. The folks at SYNTHEON planned this project very well, down to every small detail. Their part of the project required a minimum of field adjustments.”

The SYNTHEON ACCEL-E wall system is the result of a proprietary manufacturing process that combines the strength and performance of cold-formed steel framing with the superior insulation properties of expanded polystyrene (EPS).

This unique fusion process creates a composite panel with the highest levels of engineered performance, yet delivers thermal efficiency so exceptional it exceeds new ASHRAE 2007 90.1 and IECC 2009 requirements for the building envelope. No other wall system combines framing, cavity insulation and continuous rigid foam insulation in such an easy, one-step installation process.

McGraw Custom Construction, Inc. of Sitka, AK, served as General Contractor for the project. The company owner, Chuck McGraw, says he had not previously worked with ACCEL-E, but now would “recommend it to anyone, especially when insulation R-value is an important consideration.”

“It was excellent, flawless, very simple,” says McGraw. “Seamless and simple. ACCEL-E reduced our installation time by 75 percent over a conventional wall system, and that improved my labor margin tremendously.”

The architect for the project, Wayne Jensen, of Jensen Yorba Lott, Inc. in Juneau, says he is happy with the wall system.

“One of the primary design objectives was that the system provide a consistent thermal envelope,” Jensen says. “Installation was very fast and the building was enclosed quickly. The product was well manufactured and fit well on-site. The manufacturer’s support was good both during design and construction.”

ACCEL-E takes an unprecedented approach to the way exterior walls are built by reducing framing and insulating processes down to a single step. ACCEL-E does not require architects to change the way they design walls or limit choice in exterior cladding types, nor does it require contractors to learn new construction methods or invest in specialized equipment.

EPS insulation is factory formed and mechanically fused to the specially design slotted stud that virtually eliminates thermal bridging.

SYNTHEON ACCEL-E dramatically reduces construction time, labor, and cost.

ACCEL-E enables buildings to get in-the-dry in a third of the time, allowing interior trades to commence work sooner. The panels arrive at job sites pre-sized for each project with pre-cuts for windows and doors.

ACCEL-E panels span any height, limited only by mode of panel transport. As a result, multiple floors can be completed by installing a single panel.

Unlike batt insulation, the ACCEL-E system’s EPS is unaffected by moisture and provides a powerful vapor barrier in any climate zone.

The ASHRAE 90.1 and IECC Energy Codes specify minimum effective R-Values for steel stud wall assemblies with cavity and continuous insulation for 8 climate zones. Eight-inch ACCEL-E panels surpass these Effective R-Value requirements for Zones 4 through 8 (the most stringent) by 26%; Zone 3 by 42%; and Zone 2 by 65%. Six-inch ACCEL-E panels exceed the requirements for Zones 1 – 3.

For more information about the ACCEL-E wall system, visit:


Syntheon_logoSYNTHEON Inc. offers wall systems using cold-formed steel. To learn more, visit

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