Partnering, collaborating and innovating are efforts many building construction professionals take pride and ownership in as they continue working together to reduce our carbon footprint and improve environmental impacts in the built world. The AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE®) was developed with those practices in mind and members work to advance, disseminate and advocate design practices that integrate built and natural systems. As a committee, this group advises on environmental matters and how they may affect the designers of architecture and yearly, awards the top ten building projects recognized for integrating excellence in design along with environmental performance. In 2020, leading architectural firm Gensler was recognized as an AIA COTE Top Ten Award winner for its Austin project for UPCycle, which was designed and built using insulated panels from sustaining AIA COTE Sponsor Kingspan.
According to Travis Albrecht, AIA, “Gensler is committed to achieving carbon neutrality in all our work within the next decade. One of the primary strategies to achieve this goal is to focus on the embodied energy of the buildings and spaces we design. Since nearly 75% of all raw materials are used for buildings, we must make conscious decisions about how we source, construct, and finish our structures.”
For the UPCycle project, Gensler not only focused on reusing as much of the existing structure and materials as possible but also focused on the selection of those new products and materials required to transform a metal shed building into a creative office environment. Albrecht notes: “By selecting new materials based on durability, affordability, and sustainable properties (such as those containing non-toxic chemicals to support both a healthier environment and indoor air quality), we were able to create a project that significantly reduced its overall environmental impact.”
A successful collaboration to improve our built world with energy efficient design continued to evolve for Gensler with a partner in Kingspan Insulated Panels as basis of design and solution. The collaboration can also be portrayed in the project itself with the UPCycle landmark taking on the joint feel of both function and form. This unique office space combines amenities of a conference space, common areas, a coffee bar and a fitness center and reuses the existing structure including the building skin, which is turned inside out to reveal its natural finish. Energy efficiency is achieved naturally by using Kingspan KarrierPanel under this skin, insulating the building envelope.
KarrierPanel is the ideal barrier wall to support secondary rainscreen systems, such as in the vintage single-skin metal facades repurposed from an original warehouse design. Check out the UPCycle office Kingspan Case Study.
Our collaboration to achieve energy efficiency on the UPCycle project is only step one. At Kingspan, we want to do our part and believe that advanced materials, building systems and digital technologies hold the key to addressing a new era toward a sustainable future. We are passionate about working together in the industry and through our NEW IKON innovation center and Planet Passionate 2030 Vision, we are confident that together, we can move to a clean energy future, manage the earth’s resources more sustainably and protect our natural environment.
Kingspan has set challenging targets, aimed to make significant advances in the sustainability of both their business operations and products. Learn more about our Global Planet Passionate Commitments by downloading our Planet Passionate Infographic . Let’s collaborate. Won’t you join us too on our Planet Passionate Journey?