High school, collegiate and professional organized sports have become an established tradition in bringing fans and players together to celebrate momentous occasions throughout the year. This love for the game creates an ever-increasing need for prime fields and facilities where games, matches and tournaments are played. Top performance playing fields for sports such as football, baseball, soccer, softball, field hockey and lacrosse are essential — not only for the practice and conditioning of players but for the successful hosting of competitive events.
Besides the many advantages of cost savings, player safety, and field durability, surprising to many athletic directors and facilities managers is that synthetic turf presents numerous eco-friendly advantages as well. When the question “How much does a turf field cost?” arises, these benefits can allow an athletic organization to reduce their carbon footprint along with keeping their ongoing financial overhead in check.
Synthetic turf has been proven to reduce water usage while decreasing the need for gasoline, fertilizer, pesticides and maintenance labor. This choice also allows you to help reduce landfill waste while providing a consistent playing surface for athletes.
The Synthetic Turf Council (STC) estimates considering the thousands of synthetic turf fields currently in use across North America, each saves anywhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 gallons of water per year compared to grass. This results in an annual conservation of anywhere between three and six billion gallons of water. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that at least 30% of all domestic water use goes to maintaining lawns and recreational surfaces.
By choosing synthetic turf for a sports facility, you are contributing to a wide-scale effort to conserve a limited and precious resource. Not only does this feature benefit the environment, it also saves money by reducing your monthly water bill. Instead of financing the maintenance of keeping up with a green grassy field, your new synthetic turf field allows you to put funds elsewhere, such as new equipment for the team or operational costs for the facility.
Reduce Air Pollution
Maintaining grass requires the use of gas-powered equipment such as lawn mowers, edge trimmers and tillers. Carbon emissions from these tools have a significant impact on the immediate air quality, especially in an urban environment where large concentrations of automobiles are already in use. The EPA reports that lawn mowers alone use 800 million gallons of gas per year — resulting in the emission of high levels of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide.
In fact, a lawn mower in use for just one hour can produce as much pollution as eight cars being driven for the same amount of time. A synthetic field requires no mowing, trimming or aeration whatsoever, allowing you to forgo spending money on lawn equipment, maintenance labor and gasoline. Instead, the savings can be put towards the synthetic turf field installation cost, which can be financed over many months or even years. Additionally, this aspect reduces waste in the form of grass clippings — which, during the warmer months — can account for half a community’s solid waste.
Decrease Groundwater Contamination
Synthetic turf does not require pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides or weed killers. Also, a synthetic field eliminates the spillage of thousands of gallons of gasoline and motor oil onto the ground every year. The absence of these chemicals in the topsoil means that rainwater accumulating in the immediate area will contain fewer pollutants, thus requiring less treatment before being fit for human use. The money spent on this extensive upkeep, combined with a number of other factors can easily justify the investment in a new synthetic turf field.
Since turf fields lack harmful chemicals, the non-contaminated rainwater runoff means less damage to animals, birds, freshwater fish and marine wildlife. Also, synthetic grass increases groundwater harvest, as it absorbs less moisture and allows it to flow into area rivers, lakes, streams and creeks.
This cumulative effect can be measured in significant increments over time by increasing local water reserves, decreasing damage to the biosphere and mitigating the expense of treating groundwater.
Help Recycle Rubber
An important component of a synthetic turf field is the sublayer of shock-absorbing rubber that is installed beneath the surface fibers. This infill consists of rubber “crumbs” rendered from repurposed automobile tires. Rather than using new materials, this facet of artificial field construction takes a green approach by assigning a secondary purpose to items that would have been headed for a municipal disposal site. This aspect is estimated to keep 105 million used tires out of landfills every year.
Additionally, years down the road when it’s time to replace an artificial turf field, programs are available to recycle the materials being disposed of into useful post-consumer products, keeping it from ending up as landfill.
Improve Player Experience
In addition to eco-friendly advantages listed, turf field costsare also reduced by the savings from weather related events. Standardized levels of density in artificial turf infill provide a more consistent amount of cushioning for athletes — especially in high-contact sports. With the proper drainage, rainy days on a synthetic turf field can involve less obstruction by mud and water puddles, resulting in fewer injuries and cancelled games – and the added expense that comes with treatment and rescheduling.
Make a Smart Move
Installing a synthetic turf field at your athletic facility can be a valuable choice. In choosing a turf field vs. grass, at many levels you can be making a positive impact on the air, soil and water in the immediate area and the long-term effect upon the environment at large. Not only are you contributing to the environment, you are also saving financially from the re-occurring costs of maintaining a grass field.
Keystone Sports Construction is a trusted leader in synthetic turf fields – delivering high standards of excellence along with these many levels of sustainability. Contact us or schedule an appointment to learn more about the eco-friendly features of an artificial field and how they can benefit you, your community, and your team over the long-term as well as the cost benefits over the life of your artificial turf field.