Kankakee Community College (KCC) recently completed construction on its North Extension Center (NEC), six miles north of the main campus in Kankakee, Ill. The two-story, 18,350-square-foot building cost $5.5 millionand anchors the college’s new satellite campus in downtown Bradley, Ill.

The building envelope, the determining factor for NEC achieving an extremely high LEED rating and certification, was made with Kingspan insulated metal panels.

The Gold Plan

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.

From the beginning design phase, it was determined to have KCC North Extension Center achieve Leadership in Energy and the 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.

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.

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 the company’s 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, 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 an architecture, planning, and interior design firm that has extensive experience in higher education construction projects. “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, these products will become a more standard cladding material on commercial buildings in the future. “Definitely yes,” said Spitzer. “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 the 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, also reducing schedules and installation errors. They contain a substantial amount of recycled content, and the panels themselves are recyclable. 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. By achieving LEED Gold certification, this structure now provides a very progressive image for the institution.