The government has committed to a target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050, and a 51% reduction of emissions by 2030(1). Given that construction and the operation of buildings is responsible for about 40% of all global emissions(2), it’s clear that innovation in this area must be a focus for any successful carbon reduction strategy.

Kingspan is committed to playing a leading role in helping the building and construction sectors to cut their environmental impact. The firm’s Planet Passionate Programme is a 10-year global sustainability programme that sets ambitious targets for lowering energy, carbon and water usage.

Net Zero Energy building requirements

Kingspan opened its global innovation centre, IKON, in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, in 2019 to support the research and development of advanced materials and product systems. The products developed there are designed to improve performance and reduce embodied carbon, assisting building owners, engineers and design teams to meet Net Zero Energy building requirements.

Barry Sherry, head of energy solutions at Kingspan Insulated Panels, explained the firm's plan to utilise its expertise, knowledge and innovation to create solutions with circularity in mind: “Kingspan understands its responsibility and for many years, has been a recognised innovator in terms of the development of products that deliver improved building performance. One of the ways that Kingspan can increase energy-efficiency in buildings is through the products we supply.”

The Irish-owned company is continually developing innovative products to support a low carbon circular approach to the design, construction and operation of buildings. The latest of these products is PowerPanel.

It’s the first in a range of next-generation green building products to be developed at the centre. The PowerPanel product will assist companies to meet Net Zero Energy building requirements.  

Sherry continued: “Kingspan is extremely excited about our current development roadmap and believe it will help to revolutionise the way we construct buildings.

PowerPanel presents the opportunity for the specifiers of new or refurbished projects to ‘Insulate and Generate’ in a single panel. It combines industry leading QuadCore® insulated panels with high-efficiency monocrystalline photovoltaic technology in a single, factory-manufactured component, reducing complexity of install and being much lighter than having separate units – allowing for more efficient building structures and lower construction costs.”

“Once installed, the PowerPanel rooftop PV will generate energy on a daily basis. This presents a unique advantage for commercial or industrial properties, as PowerPanel can help generate renewable energy to meet the needs of the building along with securing energy supply and minimising the impact of price fluctuations.”

Whether the aim is to improve the operational carbon of a property, or reduce the energy costs associated with inhabiting a space, PV and other on-site renewable generation have never been so appealing.

Reimagining the old linear approach to construction

The team at Kingspan is reimagining the old linear approach to construction and looking at ways that the product portfolio can bring solutions to the market that help to save energy, carbon and water in buildings, and also give customers the options to use natural resources for daylighting and ventilation.   

Sherry concluded: “To achieve Net Zero Energy buildings, it will require collaboration across the entire value chain with meaningful and qualifiable metrics. At present, a lot of building materials are carbon intensive by nature so we need scalable solutions to decarbonise now and into the future.”

In total, Kingspan products sold during 2021 are projected to save 193 million tCO2e(3) during their lifetime. That’s equivalent to the emissions from 42 million passenger vehicles in a year(4). This is a reduction that can make a real impact and demonstrates our ability to achieve positive progress in building materials.

Visit Kingpan PowerPanel for more information.  

1) Department of the Taoiseach, Climate Action Plan 2021 - Securing Our Future: 

2) According to 2019 report by World Green Building Council; 

3) Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent

4) EPA estimates that a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year