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POWERgrass is eco-friendly and sustainable

Grass emerge 7 days from seedingGrass emerge 7 days from seeding

Sunlight (radiation) and heat are the main factors leading to the degradation of polymers. Generally, the damaging radiation is the UV component (290-300 nm). Absorption of UV light causes the breakage of C-H and C-C bonds, formation of free radicals resulting in a decrease in the molecular weight of the polymer, absorption of oxygen and the appearance of new chemical groups (staining, hydrophilicity). In fluoropolymers, the C-F bond is more stable and does not break down under UV light. Therefore, the higher the fluorine content of the polymer, the better its outdoor stability. However, in recent decades health concerns about fluorochemicals have forced the industry to eliminate them from use. The huge fine imposed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) on Dupond in 2005 is impressive.

In the hybrid turf used in the POWERgrass system there are no fluorochemicals, the fibres are protected by the natural grass and, for this reason, a long service life of more than 20 years is expected. As long as the natural grass is properly maintained, the synthetic fibres are not exposed to the sun and therefore do not age due to photo-oxidation by the sun's UV rays.

The area of the goalkeeper is subject to greater wear and tear and must be reseeded more times during the season. After a certain degree of wear, the hybrid sod can be replaced with a new one or reseeded from scratch. The removed hybrid sod is reused for other hybrid lawns, which are less prone to intensive traffic, thus extending its lifespan without end.

The growth medium is composed of silica sand extracted in the state that is found in nature without transformations that alter the biophysical properties. At the end of the fields lifespan you can reuse for the same use or other similar uses. The sand is mixed with long-life mineral soil improvers and compost to maintain the bio-chemical properties of the substrate.

The POWERgrass backing, the ZOEsand soil conditioner containing zeolite and compost, the drainage system and the irrigation system have all been designed to ensure that this is the case:

  1. playable field conditions, even during heavy rainfall,
  2. ideal conditions for grass growth,
  3. quick water infiltration and prevention of flooding during storms,
  4. disperse excess of water in the existing soil, without adding to the flow rate of the sewage system,
  5. retain the necessary moisture for the grass growth, leading to water savings,
  6. reduce water consumption by optimizing the irrigation system and take advantage of the water in the soil:
    • irrigation systems with 24 sprinklers distribute the water uniformly, thus obtaining savings of water and electric power,
    • roots develop deep in the soil and take advantage of the water reserves.

POWERgrass hybrid grass mitigates environmental impact when growing natural grass

Natural grass is predominant in POWERgrass while the artificial turf is almost imperceptible to players. Natural grass maintains a fresh habitat to play on, meanwhile it consumes carbon dioxide CO2 and produces oxygen O2.

By sequestering carbon in the soil, the system offers a significant positive environmental impact because it is known that grasses are able to sequester anywhere from 25.4 to 204.3 g C/m2/year (Zirkle et al., 2011); POWERgrass by optimising the photosynthesis potential with the teachings of regenerative agriculture sequesters more carbon in the soil. Our aim is that, within two years of installation, each field will benefit from its own soil biology and reduce fertiliser inputs.

Natural grass avoids the pollution of groundwater. Gas exchange, micro-organisms habitat and nutrients occurs in rootzone, without leaching and contamination of groundwater. One scientific study demonstrated that uncultivated land has higher concentration of nitrates deep in the soil compared to a well-fertilized grass.

By integrating the special soil conditioner ZOEsand, you preserve playing conditions even in the rain and optimise the growing conditions of the lawn under the stress of intensive traffic. Careful management of irrigation water saves the most precious resource and strengthens the natural grass, making it more resistant to environmental stress.

Strategic planning of territory management must prevent waste production

Investigative journalism in the Netherlands uncovers artificial turf recycling scam 

Despite the development of products of the highest quality, at best, an artificial turf field does not exceed 10 years of lifespan. The synthetic yarns exposed to the sun reach half-life cycle (loose 50% of their strength) in about 3.5-4.5 years which depends to 8000 hours of sun radiation exposition. At the same time, in the systems of the latest generation of artificial turf, organic infill is promoted to simulate the natural soil and maintain cool the surface, but the evaporation of water, however, is much higher compared to natural grass. The low density of the organic components makes them easily removed by wind and rainwater so it is necessary to refill the missing material, every year, to maintain the performance characteristics of the system and extend the life.

Remove the old synthetic turf and disposed of in a landfill costs about 30,000 € and in the future it is expected to increase in costs due to the reduction of landfills. The dumping of old fields in landfills is a serious and badly managed problem, because mafia infiltration is often the order of the day.

Considering the cost of the life cycle of a field in 20 years and the number of actual hours of use per year, making a pure mathematical calculation we also observe the great convenience of POWERgrass than natural fields and even than synthetic fields that are in the range the most prestigious.

The direct cost is equivalent to a synthetic pitch but the hydraulic management is effective and irrigation water is saved.

Comparison on natural, synthetic and hybrid grass POWERgrassComparison on natural, synthetic and hybrid grass POWERgrass

Considering the total cost of amortisation and provision for extraordinary maintenance to periodically resurface a pitch - every 10 years for a synthetic (compulsory) and 20 years for a hybrid (not compulsory) - and the cost of routine maintenance we have a very similar annual incidence.

In the case of POWERgrass, routine maintenance must be constant but it is reduced compared to a natural pitch because holes do not form but it is higher compared to a synthetic pitch because it requires fertilisers, seeds, paint for the lines and the purchase of more professional equipment. However, for an initial investment in the purchase of the equipment, which can be included in the investment plan, if maintenance is carried out regularly, the extraordinary work can be avoided to integrate the infill of a synthetic pitch or replacing the turf of a natural pitch.

The amortisation schedule for a synthetic pitch lasts approximately 10 years in northern Italy and 8 years in the south, while a well-designed and maintained hybrid pitch offers the possibility of amortising the investment over 20 years. In the case of long-term financing, the remaining works (lighting, fencing, changing rooms, stands) also benefit from a longer amortisation plan.

Natural grass facilitates the hydraulic management of the territory because it is able to absorb a high quantity of water in the sandy substrate following heavy rainfall and retain the free water suspended between the mesopores of the substrate, thanks to capillary forces until the substrate is completely saturated. Only when the forces of gravity prevail over the capillary forces in the substrate will the excess water be transferred to the drainage layers, thus mitigating the rate of rainwater runoff to the drains. The installation of large rainwater storage tanks is suggested. Once the rainwater has been filtered and purified by the natural grass, it can be used again for irrigation, avoiding the need to draw drinking water from the groundwater table.

Indirect savings for an easy-to-control sustainable playground

If we take into account indirect savings on environmental impact as well as weather risks then the POWERgrass hybrid system always wins because preserving health and preventing damage is the best insurance policy we can take.

For example in a synthetic field frequent brushing of the rubber infill is necessary to lift the fibres and redistribute the rubber granules but, it encourages the production of fine dust and microplastics. Investing in the hybrid pitch also benefits our health because instead of the brushing of the synthetic turf, the natural grass is cut, releasing the pleasant scent of freshly cut grass.

Natural grass in the POWERgrass hybrid system prevents the risk of soil erosion due to sudden weather events that cause flooding, because its roots stabilise the sandy infill along with the hybrid turf and subsoil. On the other hand, when a synthetic pitch floods, the damage can be considerable because, depending on the type of infill, it can take a large part of the water that flows over the turf with it and, in some cases, it can even lift the turf, bending it, which makes any repair complicated and costly.

The maintenance of POWERgrass is easy to perform and control because the grass reacts immediately. This therefore requires seriousness in field management and maintenance and offers the possibility of providing positive environmental certification throughout the entire period of operation. In return for this commitment, the operator does not run the risk of having to replace the field at the end of its management, as many agreements require, and the municipality does not have the difficulty of having to manage a field that is unfit for use because the system does not require a peremptory replacement. In fact, all that is needed is a little seeding and fertilisation to regenerate the field and make it usable again and better than before. 

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