Is Artificial Turf Better for the Environment Than Real Grass?

Thanks to studies done by organizations like the Center for Irrigation Technology, it’s been shown that IrriGreen uses 40% less water than traditional sprinkler systems. This doesn’t just help our customers save on their water bills, but it’s better for the environment as well.

With severe water shortages in cities across the nation, change is needed, and we at IrriGreen believe our Genius Irrigation System is a big step in the right direction.

Occasionally, we get comments about our technology that go like this:

“Okay, I see how IrriGreen uses less water and therefore is better than regular sprinklers, but if you really care about the environment, you should switch to artificial grass.”

On the surface, the logic of this statement might seem sound. But before homeowners decide to replace natural turf grass with artificial turf, they should pause to consider the actual ecological functions and benefits of real grass.

Soil Conservation

The first step in installing artificial grass is to excavate down six inches. That means removing six inches of soil. Soil is a nonrenewable resource that provides a habitat for beneficial microbes. Soil should be protected, not discarded, especially in highly urbanized areas.

Stormwater Runoff Reduction

A real lawn on real soil acts like a sponge during rainstorms, soaking up water and slowing the volume and velocity of storm runoff. The soil under an artificial grass installation becomes compacted and unhealthy from a lack of sunlight and air. Most artificial lawns are not designed to be permeable. When rain hits artificial grass, typically most of the water runs under the grass and over top of the harden soil and right out to the street and storm drains.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Grasses, like all living plants, remove carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air and deposit it into the soil as organic matter. Grass makes the air cleaner and the soil healthier, especially when clippings are mulched and left on the lawn, increasing both soil carbon and nitrogen. Artificial grass is, well…not alive.

Urban Heat Island Effect Relief

In the process of photosynthesis, grasses, like all living plants, release oxygen and moisture into the air. That helps to moderate the urban heat island effect, whereas artificial turf makes it worse.

Real grass naturally stays between 50-75 degrees no matter the temperature outside. But synthetic grass does not have that same cooling capability. As the synthetic material absorbs solar energy during the day, artificial grass heats up. How hot? Up to 180 degrees on a hot summer day. At night, a natural lawn cools the air; artificial grass radiates its stored heat into the air.

Synthetic grass, in fact, has to be cooled. How?

By watering it.

What? Fake Grass Has to Be Watered?

Yes. Watering synthetic grass is the only practical way cool it. Irrigation helps cool it down for about 45 minutes after watering.

So, if you have to irrigate fake grass anyway, doesn’t it make sense to get all the benefits of growing real grass – especially if you irrigate your lawn accurately, efficiently and effectively with IrriGreen?

We think the question answers itself. Make the switch to IrriGreen and enjoy the benefits of real grass without the consequences of water waste.