ETFE Architecture in Modern Design
  • The Eden Project, UK
  • Beijing National Aquatics Center, China
  • Allianz Arena, Germany
  • Khan Shatyr Entertainment Center, Kazakhstan
  • National Space Center, UK
  • National Stadium, Singapore

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ETFE Roof in Modern Architecture

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What is ETFE ?

ETFE (ethylene-tetrafluoroethylene copolymer) is a plastic derivative that is frequently used as a building material in the form of ETFE membranes. The material is characterized by high light and UV transmittance, temperature resistance and very low weight. ETFE film is a hundred times lighter than glass and allows more sunlight to pass through. As a result, it is often used for the construction of light-transmissive roofs

ETFE film is highly flame retardant and has a melting point of 270°C. This, together with the material’s self-cleaning qualities, ensures that ETFE membranes can be used in a wide range of applications. The self-cleaning function is provided by the lotus effect: The special surface structure ensures that wind and rain are sufficient to remove dirt from the ETFE skin. In addition, the copolymer is fully recyclable and available in more than 40 colors.

When ETFE membrane was first developed, it was designed to withstand both corrosion and a wide operating temperature range. ETFE membrane is suitable for use at temperatures of up to 155°C, making it a versatile solution to your construction needs.

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What are the advantages of ETFE membranes?

  • Light transmittance of more than 90 percent
    Eden Project, Cornwall
    ETFE films are almost completely transparent (> 90 percent) and can transmit almost the entire solar transmission. The high transparency in the infrared range also creates the best conditions for photosynthesis and therefore plant growth.
  • Available in almost all colors
    Estadio Cuauhtemoc
    In order to reduce light transmission, ETFE membranes can be printed with highly reflective patterns. These can be adjusted according to the building's individual requirements. There are almost no limits to the patterns and colors that can be printed on ETFE films.
  • Exceptional resistance
    ETFE films have a particularly high elongation at break. NOWOFLON ET for example of about > 500 percent. The tensile strength of NOWOFLON ET is 23 N/mm² at the elastic limit and > 55 N/mm² at break.
  • Flame retardant
    Shopping Mall Donaucenter
    ETFE meets the fire classes ASTM E84 Class A, ASTM E108 Class A, UL 94VTM Class 0, EN 13501-1 Class B-s1-d0, NFPA 701 and B1 according to DIN 4102.
  • Long service life and low maintenance
    ETFE is extremely weather resistant and hardly ages. The minimum service life is > 30 years, if you chose NOWOFLON ET.
  • High energy efficiency
    From extrusion to assembly, ETFE materials consume significantly less energy than glass or comparable building materials.
  • Low cost
    Bus Station Aarau
    ETFE films have a low weight and low raw material costs in production. This saves costs for the substructure. Also large spans enable cost savings.
  • Recyclable
    Medica TIC Building
    When ETFE films are replaced after their long service life, the waste material is fully recyclable. Together with the other benefits, ETFE is one of the most sustainable building materials available today.

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Stefan Behnisch - Architect
"We were looking for a material to form the outer film for a double facade. Single-layer ETFE was perfect. It is lightweight, innovative and visually attractive thanks to the high-tech look of the back span. The use of ETFE was also ideal from a fireproofing standpoint. ETFE is very transparent and almost impossible to tear when used in single-layer applications. The film is structurally stable and extremely durable. It’s easy to keep clean thanks to the “lotus effect” and offers an excellent cost-benefit ratio."


Florian Weininger - Engineer
"The quality of our planning and structural calculations depends on the material properties we take into consideration. The high quality of NOWOFLON products and the professional consultation with their staff helps us ensure that our clients really get what we promise in our planning."

What examples are there of ETFE membranes in use?

ETFE film is durable, highly transparent and extremely lightweight in comparison to glass structures. As sales increase, ETFE is gaining in popularity and reputation. ETFE is considered the material of choice for a number of architectural projects. From traditional skylight applications to long-span structures and building facades, ETFE film is becoming the solution for professionals.

If you are looking for a low-maintenance and attractive building material, it is hard to beat an ETFE roof for eye-catching looks and impact. Here are two examples from our portfolio:

Single-layered application

Unilever Building Hamburg

ETFE can be applied in a single-layered form if you need a lightweight structure. It can be reinforced with wire cables, steel or aluminum to ensure that the ETFE retains its shape and stability.

Double- or triple-layered application

Unilever Building Hamburg

Use ETFE in a double-, triple- or more layered system to form an ETFE membrane if you need a structure with greater thermal insulation and structural stability. ETFE cushion systems incorporate a pneumatic system to maintain air between two or three layers of film. These are then supported by a lightweight structure, creating inflated cushions. By utilizing a double-, triple- or more layered system, you can ensure ultimate strength and durability against high winds and loads such as snow.

Would you like to see more? You can find more examples here.

Become an example of a successful ETFE project yourself and let’s talk about what is possible. Contact us now!

More information about ETFE film:

Our ETFE membrane certificate

Do you want to know more about how you can optimize your project with EFTE membranes? Then get in touch, we will be happy to advise you.
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