A Clear Trend in Roofing Technology

01 November 2022
Roofing technology 1 miller

This article by Bart Miller, P.E., originally appeared in the November 2022 issue of Structure Magazine.


Over the past few years, a clear trend has emerged in major sports facility designs in the form of lightweight, transparent, and translucent materials for roofing and façade applications.

Recently constructed state-of-the-art facilities for the National Football League and Major League Soccer have included transparent and translucent foil membranes as the roofing and/or façade material of choice. Additionally, several proposed roofed ballparks in Major League Baseball are also reviewing the materials.

Transparent materials are developing to incorporate higher mechanical strength and better thermal performance. To date, ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), in particular, has captured the imaginations of stadium owners, engineers, and designers and has become the material of choice.

The benefit of ETFE roof and façade applications is that they create an authentic, outdoor atmosphere in an indoor, conditioned space, providing a protected and temperature-controlled experience. In addition, the material is lightweight, reducing structural support requirements and costs – especially for long-span roofs – and allowing for lighter, often more elegant structures.

A clear but static roof eliminates the need for mechanization and the operational and maintenance costs of a retractable roof solution. Additionally, abundant natural light can reduce lighting and energy costs during operation.

Image © Nigel Marson Photography

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