ETFE vs Glass

ETFE film, or Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene, has quickly become a popular material for large-span roofing, skylights, facades and art structures in the 21st century. While glass structures provide comparable light transmission and insulation, ADAS® ETFE Skylight has proven its success in the market with its durability, cost-effectiveness and extremely light weight.

Here are 10 Facts about the ADAS® ETFE Skylight:

1. It is super lightweight

ADAS® ETFE only weighs 350g/m², which is 1% the density of typical 15 mm glass panels. If weight is an issue due to transportation or structural limitations, you have to look no further than ETFE film for the perfect solution.  

2. It is very cost-effective

While providing at least the same or greater longevity as glass, the ADAS® ETFE skylight requires fewer structural elements. It can be supported by cable nets or be installed as cushions to achieve larger spans, ADAS® ETFE cushion can range from 2-4 meters wide and reach up to 50 meters in length. These can significantly reduce the amount of structural steel required, resulting in a substantial cost benefit of around 20%-40% compared to high-quality glass structures.

3. There is a wide variety of ETFE

There are various types of ETFE film available on the market. ETFE can come in different colors, printed patterns and have multiple layers for better insulation, U-value and light control.

4. Excellent light transmission

ADAS® ETFE Skylight can be up to 95% transparent. Depending on the type of ETFE used, light can be dispersed and scattered, thus reducing heat and solar gain. Different light conditions or heat reduction can be achieved with various print and colour options, and also with the number of layers used. High transmittance of daylight will result in saving energy and lighting costs.

5. Effective UV light transmission

ADAS® ETFE film can transmit UV light without incurring UV damage, meaning that it will not turn yellow and will show no sign of deterioration after even up to 30 years. This is why a large number of stadiums, sports facilities and greenhouses are using ETFE roofs to ensure UV transmission to maintain plant growth.

Figure: ADAS® ETFE Light Transmission 

6. ETFE is a self-cleaning material

ETFE film is a self-cleaning material due to its non-stick surface, reducing the amount of stains from dirt and bird droppings which are then simply washed away in the rain.

7. Environmental benefits of ETFE

ETFE is 100% recyclable. The manufacturing process of ETFE requires less energy and produces less CO² emissions compared to traditional construction materials. As ETFE film is easier to transport than glass, and also requires less structural support, the incorporation of ETFE into a building project reduces the overall carbon footprint of construction.

8. Safety benefits of ETFE

With a Class 1 fire rating certification, ETFE is a self-extinguishing material with a melting point of approximately 260°C. An ETFE skylight or canopy will shrink away from fire to create natural ventilation, and unlike traditional roofing materials, it does not produce flaming droplets or particles. As ETFE film is shatterproof, there are no sharp shards if damaged or tampered with, which is a safety concern with glass structures.

9. Easy maintenance of ETFE

ETFE is a highly corrosion-resistant material. It is resistant to chemicals, electricity and radiation. With a 50-year life expectancy, ADAS® ETFE Skylight has been tested to ensure no degradation or loss of strength over time. Repair is easy and fast compare to heavy glass; tears can be patched or simply replaced with another layer of ETFE film. 

10. Architectural freedom

ADAS® ETFE Skylight is an ideal construction material for tensile, free form architecture. Unlike glass, which is brittle and limited by its weight and span, ETFE is highly flexible and can be shaped into complex curvature without losing any architectural integrity. Ultimately, the design potential of ETFE film is only limited to your imagination.

Its excellent light transmission, minimal weight, long service life, sustainability and allowance of more architectural freedom have made ETFE film a new favorite across the architectural world. With ADAS, we provide a one-stop solution for your tensile membrane design and construction requirements, and can ensure excellence with our ADAS® ETFE Skylight systems.


ADAS®  ETFE Skylight

Design to inspire, build to perform

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