What are the biome panels made of?
The biome panels are glazed with ethyltetrafluoroethylene (ETFE), which is a hi-tech transparent foil that:
- is less than 1% of the weight of equivalent glass.
- lets through 98% of sunlight (glass lets through about 90%).
- has non-stick properties (similar to Teflon), which means that bird droppings run off it easily
- is tough
- is not degraded by sunlight
- suffers minimal deformation when it is windy, with its yield/strength ratio remaining the same (glass can crack in windy conditions)
- is recyclable.
Each polygonal panel is like a club sandwich, with three or four layers of ETFE heat-welded together. After the panels are installed, they are pumped up with dry air like big lilo pillows. Their overall thickness is about two metres, which gives better insulation
than normal double glazing.
The embodied energy
of the panels is also very low compared to glass.