A Case History Review of ETFE on Current Projects

ETFE, the fluorocarbon-based polymer ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, is quickly gaining popularity in North America and being used on some of the continent’s most prominent projects. ETFE was developed for architectural purposes in the 1970s, and since that time, mainstream use of ETFE in construction projects has been largely limited to Europe. The material has many attractive attributes that provide not only a new aesthetic quality, but also potential cost savings. Weighing in at roughly one percent of the weight of glass, significant reductions in structural costs are made possible by employing ETFE. Despite these great potential benefits, the material is not an equal substitution to glass or other roofing systems in many respects. Through review of material characteristics, performance modeling, and multiple case studies of current ETFE installations, the author will discuss lessons learned, limitations, as well as the benefits of the material from the perspective of building science implications.

Learning Objectives:
1.) Understand the hygro-thermal performance and condensation resistance of an ETFE system.
2.) Understand the major milestones of the design/construction review of an ETFE system.
3.) Understand the basic anatomy of an ETFE system.
4.) Understand the major questions to ask when including an ETFE system in design of a new project.

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Stéphane Hoffman, M. Arch., M. Eng., PE

With Master’s studies that combines structural engineering, building science and architecture, Stéphane brings a well-balanced consulting approach to the building envelope; blending scientific analysis with an understanding of aesthetic considerations. He is particularly adept at providing innovative design concepts and construction alternatives that improve durability and increase energy efficiency. As a key technical leader, Stéphane has worked on projects throughout North America and is often called upon to troubleshoot and help resolve issues on both new and existing buildings.