Minnesota Vikings fans know just how cold Minnesota winters can be. Protection from the elements is a must. The roof of the team’s old stadium, made of fiberglass and fabric, blocked sunlight. It collapsed under snow in 2010. This season, the Vikings played in a new stadium with a cutting-edge roof.

A plastic called ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) covers the new U.S. Bank Stadium. The translucent material is durable, strong, and lightweight. It provides protection from the elements and lets in plenty of natural light.

ETFE’s properties make it a great choice for architects who want to design long-lasting, sustainable buildings, says civil engineer Jianhui Hu.