With today’s ecological concerns in mind, more people are considering the addition of turfgrass than ever before. The U.S. Congress has acknowledged these positive environmental benefits. “Turfgrass sod in urban areas and communities can aid in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, mitigating the "heat island" effect, reducing energy consumption and contributing to efforts to reduce global warming trends.”
Natural Filter – The runoff of contaminants from hard surfaces such as roads and parking lots are one of the major causes of our growing water quality problem. New lawns and turfgrass areas can greatly reduce this harmful runoff. Lawns are a nearly ideal medium for the biodegradation of various environmental contaminants because of the biology of turfgrass. The microbes in soil help deconstruct chemicals into harmless materials. Once the water has reached our underground aquifers it has already been filtered and purified by the turfgrass. Turfgrass also works in helping to trap and remove dust and dirt from the air – an estimated 12 million tons annually.
Nature’s Air Conditioner – On an 85ºF summer day, a natural grass lawn will be roughly 30º cooler than asphalt, 40º cooler than artificial sports turf, and 14º cooler than soil. The front lawns of eight homes can have the cooling effect of 70 tons of air conditioning. That is astonishing when you consider that the average home air conditioning system has an approximate capacity of 3.5 tons.
The Production of Oxygen - Plants cleanse our air through a process called photosynthesis. Plants consume carbon dioxide and water and utilize sun's energy to produce carbohydrates for the plant’s energy and to release oxygen into our atmosphere. The area of an average lawn (about 10,000 sq. ft.) produces enough oxygen to sustain the average daily needs of 16 people.
Soil Erosion – Soil erosion is one of the most critical environmental issues facing the U.S. today. The total cost of soil erosion is between $6 billion-$16 billion a year. Soil is the most cost-effective method for limiting wind and water erosion. Grass binds the soil more effectively than any other plant. The reason is that each grass plant has an extensive root system that accounts for nearly 90% of the grass’ weight. Healthy turfgrass areas absorb rainfall 6 times more effectively than a wheat field and 4 times better than a hay field. Runoff is reduced to almost zero with a healthy lawn. Even after three years of growth, a sodded lawn will absorb greater amounts of rain than a seeded lawn.
Carbon Footprint - A new study conducted by Dr. Ranajit (Ron) Sahu, an independent environmental and energy expert and University instructor, shows that responsibly managed lawns store significant amounts of carbon, capturing roughly four times more carbon from the air than is produced by the engine of today's lawnmowers. The findings are based on several scientific studies and models where carbon sequestration had been measured in managed and unmanaged turfgrass. The study goes on to report that to maximize carbon intake benefits, lawns and other turfgrass areas must be managed by cutting grass, leaving grass clippings, and responsible watering. In comparing a well-managed lawn to a poorly managed lawn or unmanaged grasslands, the net carbon intake of a well-managed lawn is five to seven times higher than the carbon output of mowing.
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