The new Kingspan PowerPanel combines high insulation levels and energy generation in a lightweight roofing system that is easy, safe and quick to install

Kingspan PowerPanel

According to a 2019 World Green Building Council report, the entire construction process and operation of buildings are responsible for 39% of all carbon emissions globally.

Planet Passionate, Kingspan’s 10-year global sustainability programme up to 2030, aims to impact three global issues from a construction perspective. These are climate change, circularity, and protection of natural resources. Kingspan believes that advanced materials, building systems and digital technologies hold the key to addressing these in the construction sector.

Kingspan Sustainability Journey

Kingspan has for many years been a recognised innovator in terms of the development of products that deliver improved building performance. The company started its first integrated sustainability programme in 2011 with its Net-Zero Energy programme. It committed to matching 100% operational energy with renewable energy by 2020. This target was achieved with a three-pronged approach of “save more”, “generate more”, and “buy more”. In practical terms, this meant insulating its facilities and buildings more; generating more renewable energy on site; and, where it could not generate energy on site, it bought in power from renewable sources.

As part of its Planet Passionate programme, Kingspan is working with its supply chain, clients and other construction industry stakeholders to integrate green building thinking into all aspects of construction that its operations touch.

Kingspan IKON Innovation Centre

In 2019, Kingspan opened the doors of its IKON Innovation Centre at its headquarters in Kingscourt, Co Cavan. The goal of IKON is to research and develop advanced materials and digital technologies that will achieve a net-zero-emissions future, with any products developed in the centre being designed to ensure higher lifetime energy and carbon savings.

Kingspan PowerPanel

Kingspan PowerPanel is the first product to be developed in the IKON centre. The company’s work on insulated photovoltaic (PV) roofing panels started 10 years ago, but the launch of IKON gave it the focus and critical expertise to develop this advanced green building product.

PowerPanel for pitched roof applications is a next-generation PV roofing solution that combines industry-leading QuadCore insulated panels with high-efficiency monocrystalline PV panels in a single, factory-manufactured component.

The fully integrated PV and roofing solution can be applied on roofs with pitches of 4° to 10° in lengths of 2.2 metres to 15 metres and a width of one metre. With thicknesses ranging from 76mm to 153mm, and u-values of 0.25 to 0.12W/m2K, respectively, PowerPanel is a lightweight (12.5kg to 14.9kg/ per sq metre) fast-install alternative to traditional roof and PV systems. It can also be integrated with Kingspan QuadCore Trapezoidal Roof Panel and Day-lite Trapezoidal Rooflight, and other roofing systems. A Kingspan technical team is available to quickly calculate how much renewable energy roofs could generate based on the location and orientation of a building.

Kingspan PowerPanel
Barry Sherry, Head of Energy Solutions, Kingspan.
Market reaction

Kingspan had an internal launch of the PowerPanel system late last year, and it was more recently brought to market in Ireland and the UK.

Barry Sherry, Head of Energy Solutions, Kingspan, says that early interest in PowerPanel has been more than encouraging.

“Since the launch of PowerPanel on the Irish and UK markets at the start of this year, enquiries have surpassed our expectations. Word has travelled fast, and we are delighted about this,” comments Barry Sherry.

“Our technical service team can carry out very quick calculations to estimate the amount of energy a building can generate based on the location or the orientation across Ireland or the UK. We have found that architects like the product for its simplicity, and installers like it because it removes a lot of complexity from installation and reduces the potential for mistakes. It is also less time consuming and safer than traditional roofing systems, as it requires fewer people on site. It can, for the most part, be described as a ‘plug and play’ system.”

Kingspan PowerPanel installation

Kingspan has already installed the system on two buildings, one being a Kingspan manufacturing facility in Kingscourt. 7,800 sq metres of roof panel was stripped and replaced with a combination of PowerPanel to generate the electricity, the Kingspan Daylighting system to allow natural light into the building and Trapezoidal roof panel. The PowerPanel consists of 1,561 PV modules generating 380MWh of renewable clean power annually, which covers 8% of the site’s annual energy consumption.

It has just started a large project in the UK, with several other projects in Ireland and the UK in the pipeline over the coming months.

Barry Sherry explains that, in general, some manufacturing facilities opt for flat roofs and install pitched PV panel systems on these.

“We expect that the product will impact design decisions around whether a roof should be flat or have a small pitch,” he comments. “Some industries prefer flat over pitched roofs. However, by introducing a slight pitch of 4° to 10° degrees, they can have an integrated highly insulated roof with PV, which can be more easily and safely installed. This will also considerably reduce the carbon footprint of the construction process and operation of the building. We have already come across a situation where a flat roof was changed to a pitched roof because the architect and client saw the benefits of using the PowerPanel system.”

In terms of its weight, Sherry adds that the PowerPanel is up to 74% lighter than traditional PV systems. “From an installation perspective, the PowerPanel eliminates the need for mounting brackets, rails and other fixing elements that a traditional PV system would need, enabling us to make it as much as 74% lighter than traditional systems.”

Kingspan PowerPanel performance

Barry Sherry says that each PowerPanel unit can generate up to 310 watts at peak.

“A series of connected panels can generate anything from one kilowatt to one megawatt and beyond. The energy generation potential is dependant on location and orientation, but it can substantially offset energy demand for a building.”

In terms of insulation performance and panel thickness, the PowerPanel specs are also very impressive.

“The thinnest PowerPanel that we manufacture is 76mm. This has a u-value of 0.25W/m2K. The thickest at 150mm has a u-value of 0.12 W/m2K. These come at weights of 12.5kg to 14.9kg per square metre, respectively.”

If the facility is in place, any surplus energy generated by a PowerPanel system could be stored via battery technology and dissipated during the evening/night periods.

Roofing contractor engagement

Barry Sherry says that the roofing contractors that Kingspan has engaged with on the product are very excited about the system making projects safer and more efficient. The gains for clients in terms of meeting the sustainability goals are also substantial.

“We’ve spoken to roofing contractors, and they are excited about PowerPanel,” he comments. “We’ve also brought a number of them to our training facility and manufacturing plant and shown them the PowerPanel installed and how to install it. Because it is very similar to the Kingspan Trapezoidal Pitched Roof System, they are already familiar with the installation process, so the buy-in is excellent. Also, they see the benefit of installing two products at once as there is less room for errors.”

Kingspan next-generation products

PowerPanel is the first integrated roofing energy product to be introduced as a result of the research being carried out by Kingspan’s IKON Innovation Centre. It is also the first in a range of next-generation green building products to be developed at the centre.

“We are also developing a range of advanced insulation products, and we are looking at thermal storage and energy storage products as well as the potential of digital construction technologies to reduce carbon emissions. Kingspan is excited about developments at the centre, and we look forward to bringing more innovations to the market over the coming years. These will allow us to contribute to reducing the impact of the construction process and operation of buildings on carbon emissions,” Barry Sherry concludes.

To learn more about PowerPanel, visit: https://bit.ly/3yElgDw

ROOFTRICITY™

Kingspan, through its new business Rooftricity™, offers client and building owners the opportunity to maximise roof space to generate power for their own benefit, reducing energy costs and enhancing property value without any upfront capital outlay.

Rooftricity™ enhances buildings by:

– Improving the energy rating and, in turn, the future value of the property;

– Reducing the building’s carbon footprint;

– Safeguarding a business from unexpected energy price increases;

– Protecting a roof over its lifetime with QuadCore® Assured Warranty.

For your new build or refurbishment projects, upgrade from a standard roof to an insulated PowerPanel solution with no additional capital outlay as Rooftricity™ funds the PV system.

For more details, contact rooftricity@kingspan.com

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