Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) is a fluorine-based plastic polymer that offers a creative and lightweight alternative to glass. Developed over 40 years ago by DuPont, ETFE has similar light transmission to glass, but at just 1% of the weight. With a lifespan of over 30 years and excellent weathering properties, ETFE film is becoming the material of choice for a outdoor and outdoor/indoor spaces in a variety of climates. An ETFE cushion application, using multiple layers of ETFE with air-filled pneumatic cavities, works extremely well for fully enclosed thermal envelopes.


Single-layer ETFE: ETFE raw granulate is extruded into a single layer of film or foil. The film is tensioned on a lightweight aluminum framing.

ETFE Cushions: Either two or three layers of ETFE film are layered with a “cushion” of air between each later. The resulting ETFE cushions are tensioned on lightweight aluminum structures. Because of their thermal insulation and structural stability, ETFE cushions are ideal for projects in cold weather locations. Where necessary, the project design can incorporate sensors that will trigger additional air inflation in the face of additional wind or snow load. ETFE cushions can also be referred to as “double-layer ETFE” or “triple-layer ETFE.”


  • Replacement for glazing
  • Roofs and roofing
  • Outdoor-indoor spaces\
  • Covered walkways
  • Windows
  • Skylights
  • Facade panels
  • Greenhouses
  • Agricultural centers
  • Pneumatic panels for thermal enclosures
  • Cold weather sites
  • Blast or earthquake prone sites


ETFE has many benefits, ranging from environmental sustainability to creative design options.

Durability benefits of ETFE

  • 1% the weight of glass and typically costs 40%-50% less than traditional glass structures
  • Supporting structure can be lightweight because material is lightweight
  • Working temperature range of -300 F to 300 F/-185 C to 150 C
  • Accelerated weathering test of 30 years’ exposure showed almost no signs of deterioration
  • The oldest ETFE structure is in Europe and is approaching 40 years old

Environmental benefits of ETFE

  • ETFE is 100% recyclable
  • ETFE from previous projects can be reused in new projects
  • Reduces heat and solar gain
  • Excellent shading properties with fritted ETFE to reduce solar heat gain
  • The ETFE manufacturing process requires reduced materials and energy
  • ETFE cushions provide thermal performance up to 3 to 7 R-value for enclosed envelopes

Maintenance benefits of ETFE

  • High corrosion resistance
  • Resistant to chemicals, electricity, and radiation
  • Self-cleaning, due to its non-stick surface
  • Tears can be repaired with patches and panels, removing the need to replace the entire ETFE film

Design benefits of ETFE

  • Flexible
  • Can be stretched up to 3x and remain taut with variation in size
  • Can be shaped into curvatures
  • Can have multiple, movable layers
  • Can incorporate LED lighting and flexible photovoltaic cells for dynamic lighting effects
  • Standard and custom printing options
  • A metallic based and reflective frit can be applied for highly dramatic effects when underlit
  • Acoustic transmission of approximately 70%
  • Can be designed to be reactive to the environment
  • Lighting benefits of ETFE
  • Up to 95% transparent
  • Facilitates transmission of natural light
  • Light is dispersed and scattered, reducing heat and solar gain with fritted ETFE
  • Transmits UV light without incurring damage from UV rays to the ETFE
  • Great for landscaping, because it does not impede the UV rays needed for plant growth

Safety benefits of ETFE

  • Maintains strength in wide temperature variances
  • Relatively high melting temperature of approximately 500 F/260 C)
  • Self-extinguishing in case of fire
  • Passes ASTM E 84, Class “A” material

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