Metal buildings are popular for many commercial, industrial and agricultural uses, primarily because of their exceptional strength, durability and longevity. But they can also be very energy-efficient, rivaling wood and other construction methods when the right metal building insulation is combined with modern building science practices.
By following some basic energy-efficiency guidelines, owners of metal buildings can maximize comfort while keeping heating and cooling costs to a minimum.
Understanding Energy Efficiency in Metal Buildings
Although metal can conduct heat very well, metal buildings are still a great option for building owners who want an efficient, comfortable space to work in.
Like most other structures, metal buildings can be quite energy-efficient when they’re built with proper insulation and air sealing in mind.
To be effective, metal building insulation and vapor barriers must be tightly sealed to create a continuous, leak-free outer envelope. This means filling all voids with insulation, sealing panel overlaps, taping seams in the vapor barrier, sealing around windows and doors and more.
If these practices aren’t followed, even the most well-built metal building can be prone to thermal loss.
Cost Savings Through Proper Insulation
High-quality, properly installed insulation is essential to slow the transfer of heat between the interior and exterior of a metal building. The layer of insulation in the outer envelope helps prevent heat from bleeding outside during cold weather and reduces heating from the sun and surrounding air during warmer weather.
Proper vapor barriers and air sealing work in tandem with the insulation to keep out drafts, plus they prevent air leaks that can let conditioned air escape.
The result is a thermally efficient, comfortable building that costs significantly less to heat and cool than a building with substandard insulation. Plus, because metal buildings don’t flex or twist as readily as wood-framed structures, they’ll maintain greater structural integrity and efficiency as they age.
Types of Insulation Suitable for Metal Buildings
Metal buildings often feature wide spans between structural components like girts, purlins, columns and bracing. This means they often require insulation solutions that are specially designed for metal building applications.
The most commonly used insulation for metal buildings includes:
Fiberglass blankets: Large rolls or blankets of fiberglass can be used in walls and ceilings. Unfaced fiberglass is often held in place using spikes, hooks or strapping, and is then covered with a vapor barrier or a permeable covering made of plastic or fabric, depending on the application.
Faced batts or blankets include a vapor barrier made of kraft paper, plastic or fabric.
Rigid insulation board: Made from rigid foams like polystyrene or polyisocyanurate, these insulation boards are lightweight and can be cut to fit interior and exterior applications. Foam insulation boards are available with a foil radiant barrier that helps reflect heat away during summer.
Spray foam: Applied as a liquid, spray foam can adhere to the metal wall and roof panels of the building and expand to create a thick layer of insulation that also works well as a vapor barrier and waterproofing when using closed-cell spray foam.
Insulated metal panels: Combing metal sheathing or wall panels with foam insulation, these panels attach directly to the purlins or girts to create a durable, pre-insulated wall or roof system, though they can be costly.
Tips for Maximizing Energy Efficiency
If you want to keep the energy costs for a metal building as low as possible while maximizing its efficiency and comfort, it’s important to select premium insulation products and have them installed by an experienced professional.
Proper air sealing is also essential for creating a tight outer envelope free of drafts and air leaks, keeping cooling costs low in the summer and adding a thermal barrier or radiant barrier to reflect the sun’s heat away.
Choose AMD Distribution for Metal Building Insulation
When you want the most cost-effective and energy-efficient insulation for your metal building, turn to AMD Distribution. We offer metal building insulation for commercial, industrial and agricultural applications, as well as a full selection of metal building accessories to help you create a thermally efficient outer envelope.
We offer the highest-quality fiberglass, rigid insulation boards and spray foam insulation solutions, and we distribute to builders, contractors and building owners throughout the Midwest and Mountain West regions.
Based in Spring Valley, MN, we offer industry-leading customer service and expertise to help you get your project finished on time and on budget.
Ready to start your metal building project?