May 30, 2012

SYNTHEON ACCEL-E Wall System Provides Birmingham Airport’s Modernization a Direct Flight To Energy and Project Efficiency


Installation Quick and Easy for Steel Thermal Efficient Wall Panels Used for $200-million Upgrade Designed to Meet LEED Standards


PITTSBURGH, PA  — The ACCEL-E® Steel Thermal Efficient Panel wall system, manufactured by Pittsburgh-based SYNTHEON Inc., is being installed in the $201.6 million terminal modernization project at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, AL.

The project will double the size of the terminal at an airport which served 2.9 million passengers in 2011, ranking it in the top 75 airports in the United States.  

Construction began in February 2011 and is expected to finish sometime in 2014. The airport will remain operational during the project, which encompasses both expansion and renovation. 

Installation of the ACCEL-E panels began in October 2011 and, when finished, will account for 106,000 square feet of wall space for a new concourse. 

The project specifier says the ACCEL-E panels will deliver three crucial benefits to the project:  impressive and consistent thermal efficiency, easy and fast installation, and some sound attenuation.

“Our desire was to give the owner (the Birmingham Airport Authority) a very low-maintenance and high-efficiency building envelope,” says Dale Schexnayder, AIA, CSI, CCS, LEED AP, Architect and Director of Specifications for KPS Group, an architectural firm with broad experience in specialized buildings.  KPS Group has offices in Atlanta, Birmingham and Huntsville, AL.

“During the design process there were several things we did not want to do,” Schexnayder says. “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.

“We’re pursuing LEED silver certification on this particular building,” Schexnayder says of the new concourse. “Utilizing a highly energy-efficient wall panel would certainly give us the opportunity to optimize energy performance, while assuring a high percentage of LEED credits.”  

The SYNTHEON ACCEL-E® Steel Thermal Efficient Panel wall system is a lightweight, easy-to-install, high performance solution that shortens construction time, optimizes crew use, greatly improves energy efficiency – and does it all in just one installation process. The secret behind the exceptional construction efficiency of ACCEL-E is an exclusive manufacturing process that combines the strength and performance of cold-formed steel framing with the superior insulation properties of expandable polystyrene (EPS). 

This unique fusion process provides each panel with the highest levels of  strength, yet the 8” ACCEL-E panel delivers thermal performance so exceptional it exceeds IECC Code requirements and the latest ASHRAE 90.1 standards for all climate zones. The new 16-gauge, 6” ACCEL-E panel provides an ideal solution for construction projects in more moderate climate zones where codes require continuous insulation, but where the 8” ACCEL-E panel may not be necessary. 

For detailed information about how ACCEL-E panels outperform both ASHRAE 90.1  and IECC Section 502.1.2 requirements, please visit:

ACCEL-E takes an unprecedented approach to the way exterior walls are built by reducing framing and insulating processes down to a single step.  ACCEL-E does not require architects to change the way they design walls or limit choice in exterior cladding types, nor does it require contractors to learn new construction methods or invest in specialized equipment.  

EPS insulation is factory formed and mechanically fused to the specially design slotted stud that virtually eliminates thermal bridging. No other wall system replaces framing, cavity insulation and continuous rigid foam insulation in such an easy, one-step installation process.

“The infill has gone pretty quickly,” says Shane Swords, Project Manager for Brasfield & Gorrie, a general contracting firm with offices throughout the South, including Atlanta, Dallas and Birmingham.  “, 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.”

ACCEL-E enables buildings to get in-the-dry in a third of the time, allowing interior trades to commence work sooner.  The panels arrive at job sites 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.

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.

Because of the inherent loud noises at an airport, Schexnayder says the ACCEL-E wall system’s sound properties were also considered beneficial for the project.

Installation of the ACCEL-E panels at the Birmingham Airport project is being handled by F.L. Crane & Sons of Fulton, MS.

The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport 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. 

View a video testimonial about Birmingham Airport