World Cup Soccer Stadium Goes Green with Glass Fibers

Fiber-reinforced concrete cladding supports Soccer City stadium's eco-responsible construction by using less material and extending building life.

Rieder Smart Elements fibreC® concrete panels, reinforced with Owens Corning Cem-FIL® alkali-resistant (AR) glass fibers, are used in Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, one of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ venues.

Owens Corning’s Cem-FIL® alkali-resistant (AR) glass fibers are playing a role in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ at Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. The newly redesigned stadium features fibreC® concrete panels from Rieder Smart Elements, reinforced with Cem-FIL AR fibers, which reduce the weight and thickness of the concrete by up to 10 times compared to conventional panels. The 100% recyclable materials enhance building life and durability with resistance to corrosion, fire, UV light and temperature variations.

“The world continues to raise the bar on sustainability in building materials,” said Frank O'Brien-Bernini, chief Sustainability officer for Owens Corning. “Demand is increasing for resource-efficient, lighter, stronger, more durable and more recyclable materials. Products such as Owens Corning Cem-FIL glass fibers are quickly becoming must-haves in order to meet evolving building standards.”

Despite slower construction growth in many markets around the world, O'Brien-Bernini said that demand for fiber additives in cement and concrete is forecast to increase 6.6% per year through 2012.* “The use of Cem-FIL in buildings like Soccer City Stadium is certainly helping drive that momentum,” he said.

The Rieder fibreC panels featuring Owens Corning Cem-FIL AR glass fibers provide the following advantages:
  • Cem-FIL fibers deliver significantly higher tensile strength than steel at much lighter weight and lower mass.
  • Cem-FIL fibers provide excellent weatherability, fire resistance (class A1, according to the DIN standard) and durability to reduce maintenance and extend useful life.
  • After grinding, old panels are recyclable with up to 15% regrind used for the fabrication of new fibreC panels, while 100% regrind can be added to concrete mixes. The composition of fibreC panels allows the material to be recycled, thus it is listed in the GreenSpec® directory as an environmentally preferable product and evaluated for U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED® credits.
The glass-fiber-reinforced fibreC panels also offer design freedom. The façade of the stadium evokes a traditional African calabash cooking pot, requiring markedly curved panels. By enabling thinner and lighter panels, the Cem-FIL glass fibers help make it possible to create these sculpted forms without compromising strength and resilience. The fibreC panels are available in standard and custom colors; a palette of earth tones was chosen for the stadium cladding.

“Products like Cem-FIL are indispensable in changing the way building materials can perform," said Wolfgang Rieder, CEO of Rieder. “The world is changing and the solutions we deliver must change along with it. This is a revolutionary time for the construction industry.”

Chosen as one of 10 venues hosting 2010 World Cup matches, Soccer City Stadium began renovations in January 2007 and was completed in October 2009. The three-tier stadium soars 60 m (197 ft) into the air, stretches across 300 m (984 ft) and can accommodate 95,000 fans.

For more information, visit Additional details regarding the 2010 FIFA World Cup are available at

* Concrete Additive Industry study and forecast for 2012 and 2017, from the Freedonia Group.


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