Birmingham Airport

Birmingham, AL
106,000 square feet
Products Used:

Project Highlights

  • Owner: The Birmingham Airport Authority
  • Architect & Contractor: KPS Group
  • Wall Type: Non-load bearing bypass and infill
  • Max. Wall Height: 35 feet
  • Panel Width: 8 inches

Project Details


Doubling the size of an airport terminal which served 2.9 million passengers in 2011 is no small feat. As a top 75-ranking airport in the U.S., the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, AL is undergoing a $201.6 million expansion and renovation that includes the use of 106,000 square feet of SYNTHEON ACCEL-E panels. 

The facility is Alabama’s largest airport, serving the Greater Birmingham area and surrounding Southeastern cities. It offers 130 daily flights to 48 cities throughout the United States. The modernization project will add a federal customs inspection station to facilitate direct international air traffic. 

ACCEL-E panels deliver three crucial benefits to the project: impressive and consistent thermal efficiency, easy and fast installation, and sound attenuation to mitigate the inherently loud atmosphere of an airport.

A Better Solution

“During the design process there were several things we did not want to do,” says Dale Schexnayder, Architect and Director of Specifications for KPS Group. “We did not want to start with steel studs and batt insulation. We have learned over the years that this conventional wall system is very inefficient because of gaps in the insulation and thermal short circuits through the steel studs.”

To overcome these common performance issues, the project team selected highly thermally- efficient ACCEL-E wall panels. ACCEL-E utilizes the time-tested insulative capabilities of EPS, which is factory formed and mechanically fused to specially-designed cold-formed steel studs slotted to virtually eliminate thermal bridging.  

No other wall system combines framing, cavity insulation and continuous rigid foam insulation  in such an easy, one-step installation process. In addition to providing superior performance, ACCEL-E panels span any height, limited only by mode of panel transport.  As a result, multiple floors can be completed by installing a single panel. Unlike batt insulation, the ACCEL-E system’s EPS is unaffected by moisture and provides an effective air barrier in any climate zone. 

Custom Design

All ACCEL-E panels arrive at the job site pre-engineered for each project with pre-cuts for windows and doors. 

“In response to the exterior wall cladding manufacturer’s requirements for 16 gauge stud backup, SYNTHEON manufactured special 16 gauge panels specifically for this project,” Schexnayder says. “We were very impressed that these specially-designed panels were delivered to the site on schedule, as promised. As a result, Syntheon has earned our confidence.”  

Accordingly, SYNTHEON launched the 8” 16 gauge version of the already popular standard 8” as part of their regular offering. Further, the ease of installation facilitated by the use of ACCEL-E enables buildings to get dried-in in a third of the time, allowing interior trades to commence work sooner. This was a critical factor for the tight-time constraints of the airport project. 

“The infill has gone quickly,” says Shane Swords, Project Manager for Brasfield & Gorrie, and general contractor for the project. “We’re saving time because we don’t have to come back and insulate the panels. It makes it a lot quicker, a lot easier.”