Archive for August, 2006

Hotfoot, Fading Not Concerns with Today’s Synthetic Grasses, Study Finds

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

TEMPE, Ariz. – Synthetic grasses like NewGrass™ may get hotter than natural turf under a harsh sun, but they also cool off very quickly when you step on them, a long-term research project has concluded.

The findings are important because for years, artificial lawns have had a bad reputation for heating up to uncomfortable and possibly harmful temperatures in some climates. But until now, an impartial source had not studied the cooling properties of synthetic grasses.

Artificial grass also doesn’t fade under the extreme Arizona sun, the study is showing.

The findings are from a long-term, ongoing water conservation research project sponsored by the country’s third-largest public utility company. The Salt River Project (SRP) is sponsoring the research as part of its ongoing efforts to help give consumers new and better information about water conservation alternatives. The project has put synthetic grass side-by-side with natural local grasses and xeriscaping.

After more than 1½ years of observing, testing and evaluating several plots of artificial grass, the SRP says it can give synthetic grass the thumbs up as a genuine water conservation alternative.,

“It seems durable. It hasn’t faded. It needs a little maintenance, but really next to none,” said Marc Campbell, a water planning analyst with utility provider and director of the research project. “You need to rake it from time to time to keep the blades looking full. And you need to hose it off to remove the dust that inevitably lands on it, with the winds and dust we get here.”

SRP tested the differences in temperature between the synthetic grass, asphalt, xeriscape landscape and natural grass. And while the synthetic grass can get quite hot, especially under central Arizona’s harsh summer sun it also cooled off quickly underfoot and has never gotten so hot that it’s burned anyone’s feet, Campbell said.

“You couldn’t stand on that asphalt without burning your feet, but the synthetic turf cooled down rapidly under the foot … since it doesn’t retain heat,” Campbell said,

Campbel also said that in the shade, synthetic grass didn’t heat up as much as asphalt and cooled much more quickly.

It’s Elementary: When Grass Won’t Grow, Go with NewGrass

Monday, August 14th, 2006

NewGrass on a playgroundCASA GRANDE, Ariz. – After years of throwing away money trying to turn the proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse, one Arizona elementary school has decided to install synthetic grass in its playground rather than keep trying to grow the natural stuff.

“We’ve been fighting this battle for years now; we tried several times to grow our own grass,” said Laurie Ocampo, principal of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Casa Grande, Ariz. “We’d plant grass and get it growing, and the minute the kids would get on it, it would be torn up, and we would end up with a dirt playground.”

It wasn’t just the wear and tear caused by the school’s 340 or so students that undermined the school’s attempts to grow a playground of natural grass.

The school is in the very arid Southwest, nearly 30 miles south of Phoenix. The ground is tough and by nature, does not welcome nature grass.

“We looked into alternatives and decided that synthetic grass just made more sense,” Ocampo said. St. Anthony chose to have STC (Synthetic Turf Company) of nearby Scottsdale install a variety of NewGrass™ brand synthetic lawn.

Ocampo joined St. Anthony after the school had decided to install an artificial lawn on its 11,000-square-foot playground. So, she was unfamiliar with artificial lawns before watching the installation at her school earlier this summer.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “I had never seen artificial lawns installed in such a big area. They (the STC installation team) explained it all to me, the steps involved. And it was all done in a week.”

“It’s beautiful,” Ocampo said of the completed installation. “It looks like a park.”
The results have garnered similarly positive reviews from residents in the school’s neighborhood.

“People walk by, and they say, ‘Wow, what have you done with the lawn this summer? Boy, you really must be watering this a lot,’” she said. “We’ve had a lot of compliments on it.”

Ocampo concedes, however, that the true test for the installation will come when the students return from summer vacation.

“If they like it, and if they don’t tear it up, then it’s a real success,” she said.

Based on how the lawn fares under the children’s treatment, St. Anthony may look into installing NewGrass™ in its smaller pre-school yard, Ocampo said.

“We’ll see how the big one does first,” she said.

Combined with their durability and being “live” all year long, artificial grasses are becoming popular alternatives for many schoolyards. This is especially true where natural grass simply can’t grow in playground areas or has been worn down to the dirt through repeated use.

NewGrass™ is installed with a layer of fine sand within and under the blades. This has the practical effect of keeping the blades lifted and looking fresh. On a play area or schoolyard, it has the added advantage of providing another level of cushioning.

Two other playground culprits — the dust and dirt a typical schoolyard can create —are meanwhile eliminated with a synthetic grass.

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