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Biobased turf AT UCLA

By Denise Valenzuela

Posted in

Biobased turf is a fairly new product which means there is little historical data. To learn more, the UCLA team visited other PAC12 schools that had implemented artificial turfs like Oregon State University and Washington State University. UCLA contracted D.A. Hogan & Associates, a consulting group focusing on engineering and landscape architecture, to help them navigate the project. One difference between Washington State University and UCLA is the effect of UV light. UCLA will be keeping an eye on how the turf responds to the constant California sunshine.

Some other schools in the LA public school system have had problems with their infill, including melting which result in the turf turning almost to pavement. The UCLA teams researched their infill options and are confident they will not have this problem with their infill and the heat. Manufactures of such large projects should emphasize researching the specific needs of a project, Design what is going to make your space the most safe, playable, and sustainable. I would hope people are always looking at what the product is made of, what the lifecycle is, and how it gets recycled before you buy it.

The IM Field includes three components – the AstroTurf, the infill and an additional padded base to add cushion which makes it safe and playable. While the BioCel AstroTurf is the only biobased component, the infill and the padded base are both sustainable as well. The Brock pad base is a certified cradle to cradle product make of recyclable polypropylene. The infill is a USA made crumb rubber that is made of postconsumer recycled tires.

The Brock Pad not only makes the field safer and more sustainable, it also increases the overall lifespan of the field. UCLA expects the field to last 8-10 years before needing replacement. Each component of the field was deeply researched to ensure the safety of students and community users. The goals of safety, playability, and sustainability were the drivers for choosing the right Biobased turf product product.

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