Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Benefits Of Artificial Grass

Artificial grass, known by its more common name as Astroturf, is an increasingly popular choice of surface for many homes, schools, sport centers, and businesses. It's taken a while for Astroturf to transcend its reputation as a badly colored, coarse, and kitschy replacement for natural grass, but the product has improved significantly over the years. Astroturf isn't going to be replacing everyone's lawns in the near future, nor should it, but it does have many practical applications.

When natural grass simply becomes too expensive in terms of money or time, it might be wise to consider a synthetic substitute. Astroturf is especially viable if the area is subject to heavy use and maintaining a consistent surface with a natural lawn has become difficult. If that's the case, consider how artificial turf might improve the area in question.

Synthetic turf removes the normal upkeep requirements of a natural turf surface, including mowing, reseeding, spraying pesticide and herbicides, etc. Over time, products and services needed to maintain normal turf can become quite expensive, especially taking into consideration the machines and fuel necessary for large areas of grass.

Despite the initial feelings of athletes and their fans that Astroturf was an unacceptable replacement for natural grass, synthetic turf has become used most frequently in athletic centers where growing natural grass is unfeasible. This stigma arose from very early Astroturf, which was coarse, abrasive, and much harder than a natural surface. The athletes and others felt that such artificial surfaces made them more prone to injury, considering the amount of contact that they have with the ground.

However, newer artificial turf doesn't have these problems. In fact, many brands of artificial grass are specifically designed to work for sport, and especially designed to minimize skin abrasion from sliding during normal athletic activities. These systems are usually called 'filled' turf, which means that sand or some other soft material is installed in the fibers to provide a less harsh impact.

There are a number of popular applications for both home and business use. These smaller scale implementations of Astroturf include achieving an ideal, always well-maintained looking garden area, putting greens, play areas for children, and kenneling areas for dogs or other animals. The possibilities are really only limited by imagination.

Newer artificial turf is both permeable and weed-proof, giving the best of both worlds for non-natural product. In terms of pet care, the artificial grass can be cleaned like normal grass, but then rinsed off for easy cleaning. The water will just flow through the surface and into the ground. The Astroturf is installed over several layers of protective material, however, so you shouldn't find weeds growing up through the top.

There are a variety of colors and lengths to take into consideration for a purchase of artificial grass. None will look as real as natural grass, but the synthetic substitutes still look presentable, and with the amount of choices it's almost inexcusable if someone can't find a color they're fond of. Despite it's durability, however, Astroturf won't last forever. Find a dealer and a brand that will give a solid warrantee to maximize the product's lifetime.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ecofriendly Design & Construction: Improving Home Design

The way that buildings are designed and constructed has much to do with how much water and energy they use. Thus, utilizing ecofriendly design & construction can minimize a house's effect on the environment and can make it eco-friendly. Designing homes to be sustainable can significantly help the environment. Proper architectural drawings are needed.

The way that a building is shaded can significantly affect its energy usage. If a house is faced north, it can have maximum shading during summer and more sunlight during winter. Also, utilizing shades over windows can help keep heat and glare from coming into a home. This can reduce the energy used for heating and cooling a house, as the home will have a more stable temperature. Drafting can help reduce temperatures during summer.

If you use solar panels for your home's energy source you can significantly reduce your impact on the environment. Solar power does not create harmful emissions and it is entirely sustainable. There are ways to utilize both solar power and other forms of energy so that a home has power throughout the year.

New heat-trapping windows can prevent heat from getting into or out of a building. These windows use a new type of glazing that, like shading, can reduce the heat of a house during summer and increase it during winter. When sealed, the windows can reduce energy costs because the home stays at a more stable temperature so that the air conditioning and heater do not need to be used as much.

Eco-friendly homes always make use out of water-efficient appliances. While somewhat faulty in the past (as they did not provide the same quality of experience that less water-efficient appliances did), they are now very effective. Now water-efficient shower heads have a great amount of pressure and low flush toilets work the first time (they do not need to be flushed more than once).

In a house, insulation serves a purpose similar to heat-trapping windows. It keeps a house warm in the winter and cool in the summer by keeping outdoor weather from seeping into the house. Without insulation a home is prone to the elements, which can significantly drive up energy costs for heating and cooling. Thus, insulation is a great investment for an eco-friendly development.

Xeriscaping is a type of landscaping that should be used for every new, eco-friendly garden. It utilizes plants that are appropriate for the region. This means that they work well with their natural surroundings. Also, plants used for xeriscaping are often plants that do not need much water. Traditional lawns are rarely part of xeriscaped gardens, as they are very "thirsty." If a home must have a lawn, native grasses that require less water should be chosen above non-native grasses.

Lastly, rainwater harvesting should be utilized. This process involves capturing water in a tank; the water can then be used for gardening. This water is perfectly safe for gardening because gardens do not need fresh, clean water like humans do. By using this technique, a significant amount of water can be saved. Rainwater tanks are a great investment because once you have one, the water that is collected is convenient to use and does not cost you anything.