Michelle Kusanovich, Architect, AIA

a design firm where quality, care and success are always in construction

 
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(alternatives to) artificial turf

 

I've been asked many times about artificial turf.  I see it in neighborhood front yards, backyards, pet parks...it is even at the local high school covering acres of land on all of its sport fields. 

Here is why I discourage it:

1.  Artificial turf is made from polyethylene, an oil-based product, that is not biodegradable.

2 .  Synthetic turf does not capture atmospheric carbon nor does it provide any wildlife habitat value.  organic debris that accumulate on the surface will not be able to infiltrate the ground below , preventing an opportunity for natural nutrient recycling.

3.  The impermeability of artificial turf does not allow for groundwater recharge.

4.  Petroleum products used in manufacturing artificial turf can begin to off-gas as toxic substances, adding to air pollution and creating respiratory problems.  They get hot in the sun and aggravate the urban heat island effect. By comparison, a natural lawn is 50% cooler.

5.  Installation costs can be high and the lifespan short.