Rachel Riddle – Week 11
Sustainable designs continue to increase as new and creative materials become more readily available and used. Known for its durability, transparency, and light weight, Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) continues to increase in popularity as the eco-friendly material of choice for skylight applications, to lengthy structures and building facades. Luckily enough, the nation’s largest ETFE roof, on the Minnesota Viking’s new stadium, is in our backyard allowing convenient analysis. By being innovative and extraordinary, this development and implementation of ETFE will further help increase the possibilities of designing with sustainability in mind.
60% of the roof at US Bank stadium is comprised of ETFE multi-layer panels, that act as pneumatic systems, creating the perfect indoor-outdoor experience. ETFE foil is essentially a plastic polymer, related to Teflon, that is lighter and stronger than traditional roofing materials. Each panel in the stadium consists of three layers of ETFE Foil, where the outer layer helps reduce and deflect the sun’s heat, while the inner layer helps control the perfect indoor temperature. The material also doesn’t degrade with exposure to harsh chemicals, temperatures, or UV light, and it handles snow and the wind very well. Also adding to the benefits is the fact that it self-cleans and requires minimal maintenance.
Since it is such a thin film, I initially was worried about it tearing; however, after further research another source, that focused more on the material itself versus the stadium, stated that ETFE has exceptional tear resistance. Since this material is energy efficient, cost effective, and recyclable, it would be interesting to see if a hybrid system with ETFE and solar panels could be created resulting in it having a greater impact on green construction and sustainability. The ETFE would manage indoor temperatures requiring less energy, and then when energy would be needed a greener alternative would be used. Several more stadiums under construction are planning to use ETFE in the future showing that the decision to use ETFE in US Bank has created a domino effect towards sustainability.