I arrived at the EPPM and BP&R offices on Tuesday feeling rather refreshed after a long bank holiday weekend. However, I’d joined the team during EPPM’s production week and therefore was ‘thrown in at the deep end’ so to speak. I knew nothing about plastics yet found myself (and my email inbox!) bombarded with press releases and news about new innovations in materials, machinery and other breaking news in the industry.
It’s safe to say I didn’t know the plastics industry was such a big deal!
However, it’s interesting to see the plastics industry from a ‘newcomer’s’ point of view.
One of the projects I’m working on during my time here is finding out the different uses of plastics in stadia for games at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and while, at the moment, information is hard to find, my search has led me to find information about other amazing grounds with exteriors, facades and roofs made from plastics that have been used in ways a newcomer like me could never imagine.
Take the Allianz Arena (above) for example. Even though I knew it lit up and changed colours depending on the home team playing there, I’d have never thought its facade was made from almost 3,000 ETFE panels.
BC Place is another similar example. This one is interesting in that it not only uses its light for the Vancouver Whitecaps (football) and BC Lions (American football) teams, but also to promote charities and awareness days. The example in the link shows the stadium’s roof on Valentine’s Day!
As someone who is (relatively) sporty, I decided to look for uses of ETFE in other sports. The Forsyth Barr Stadium, built for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand has a roof entirely made of ETFE – and its transparent properties allow an actual grass pitch to grow, despite the stadium being ‘indoor’.
These panels also make up the Beijing National Aquatics Centre, or the Water Cube. 4,000 ETFE ‘bubbles’ make up the Water Cube to give it a modern, and very different façade.
ETFE’s use isn’t just limited to stadia/sports arenas either, but since teams pride themselves on the colours they play in, it is interesting to see how different stadia manifest their team’s colours.
Aesthetics and looks aside – ETFE has some personality too. It allows arenas like the Water Cube to bring in 30% more solar heat, reducing the arena’s energy bill in the area of heating. When used as a roof, the film also allows more natural light into the area, which in turn saves money on lighting.
ETFE is also, for the recycling enthusiasts of the world, recyclable and uses less CO2 to produce.
With some of the World Cup 2014 stadia said to use this film in their construction, I for one am very interested to see how these stadiums turn out, especially in comparison to the three mentioned here.
ETFE really is a brilliant-looking plastic!