The practice of retrofitting buildings to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment is gaining momentum. As greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise, industries across sectors are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. In the building, design, and construction sector, increasing the pace of retrofit projects is critical to cutting global carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieving zero by 2050.

Reusing buildings and retrofitting is a viable pathway to net zero considering that most of our nation’s existing buildings are aging and in need of repair. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 80% of the 5.9 million commercial buildings in the U.S. were built before the year 2000.

Retrofitting buildings offers a vital opportunity to accrue environmental savings. In fact, it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process.

Changing how we retrofit buildings to be more sustainable, energy efficient, and carbon efficient starts with design and product specification. And, sustainable design in retrofit projects begins with the selection of Insulated metal panel (IMP) building envelope solutions designed to reduce carbon emissions.

IMPs, which can have thermal resistance ratings of upwards of over R-8 per inch, reduce a building’s carbon emissions while increasing energy efficiency, building durability and air tightness.

A quick and easy-to-install solution for breathing new life into old buildings and making them more environmentally friendly, IMPs also facilitate the achievement of green building construction standards and LEED credits.

Using IMPs in retrofit projects can also cut costs and speed up construction time. Additionally, because the installation work occurs externally, retrofitting with insulated metal panels causes no disruption to internal occupancy or building operations. Together, these benefits translate to protecting the financial investment of active and inactive building owners, whether the project is residential, multi-family or commercial.

The Daytona International Speedway retrofit project is an excellent example of how insulated metal panels can make an immediate impact on a building’s sustainability.

Built in 1959, the 500-acre, one-mile-long speedway known as the “World Center of Racing” underwent a major renovation in 2013.

The International Speedway Corporation chose Kingspan’s insulated metal panels for the retrofit because of their high thermal performance, sustainability, and wide variety of design options. The retrofit project used more than 125,000 square feet of Kingspan Optimo panels and Benchmark Designwall 2000 architectural wall panels.

Currently, the average retrofit rate of the existing building stock is approximately 1% per year, according to the International Energy Agency. The agency indicates that to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, retrofit rates must jump to at least 2.5% by 2030.

It is clear the pace of retrofitting needs to increase to reach net zero targets. Retrofitting existing buildings to make them more energy efficient and sustainable is a key part of reducing GHG emissions and accelerating progress on the pathway to net zero. To successfully deliver on climate and energy goals, retrofit projects will require architects and designers to make more sustainable material choices, including the selection of climate-friendly, energy saving IMP building envelope solutions.

For more information on achieving net zero with insulated metal panels, visit today.