News

Don & Low enters synthetic grass yarn market August 10 2017

Don & Low, a Scottish technical textiles manufacturer, has announced the official completion and start-up of its brand-new synthetic grass line, after receiving Board Approval to make this substantial investment at the end of 2016.

“Working collaboratively with our raw materials and machine partners, as well as multiple years of extrusion and manufacturing experience, has meant we have some very exciting grass developments to bring to the demanding and performance driven artificial grass market,” said Jacki Stephen, Don & Low Product Development Technologist.

The investment will allow for 3,500 tonnes of grass yarn production capacity for 2018 alone, with potential for further investment and expansion in 2019/2020. Don & Low aims to utilise this investment by taking synthetic grass yarn technology to the next level and leverage its technical leadership position in other markets to immediately deliver enhanced yarn characteristics, for the benefit of the entire synthetic turf industry.

According to the manufacturer, this new investment has enabled Don & Low to create a unique and pioneering range of grass yarns, which is expected to exceed even the toughest industry expectations, and be a step ahead of current market offerings.

The new addition will also help Don & Low meet the increasing demands of the synthetic turf industry to provide highly durable, resilient and skin-friendly yarns for a variety of sports and landscape applications.

“As a result of this new venture, Don & Low has now become the only independent grass yarn manufacturer in the UK and is one of the few remaining independent grass yarn manufacturers globally. This will allow us to work with many different customers and business partners, while maintaining the quality and excellence of our products,” commented Mark Newstead, Don & Low Managing Director.

The product range will be officially launched at this year’s FSB Exhibition, taking place from 7-10 October, in Cologne.


Why Jessica Alba Loves Artificial Grass April 13 2016

Jessica Alba is a well-known actress, inspirational model and a driven businesswoman. Alba has been working as an actress since she was 11 years old, when an agent noticed her at an acting class. Since then, at the young age of 11, Jessica Alba has stormed the filming industry and become a household name. Even though Alba’s life is publicised and she is constantly followed by the paparazzi, not many people know her passion for design and her love for the environment.

Having purchased a home in Beverly Hills, California with her husband and pets, Alba wanted to change her garden to an eco friendly and safe place before she gave birth to her first child; Honor. Alba took the time to meet with a designer so she could create the perfect garden for her future family in a certain amount of time.

Since Alba turned her garden eco friendly, California since then have implemented a mandatory water restriction. The water restriction only allows people to water their grass at certain times of the day. As a result, everybody’s lawn turned brown and the people who had green lawns were fined for using too much water.

Alba mostly turned her lawn to artificial grass in order to protect the health of her children and pets; residents in California have since followed her lead. In order to prevent being fined, residents have also opted for artificial grass; purely for the fact they want a garden that looks green all year round without having to use water.

It seems as though Alba has set a trend and her love for the environment and the safety of her children and pets has changed people’s views relating to artificial grass. People realise that artificial grass is not only visually attractive, maintenance free and safer for animals and children, but it is also friendly for the environment.

Jessica Alba is extremely pleased with the results of her artificial lawn, and her animals and children can now play outside on an eco friendly surface.


HOAs could face fines under California drought rules February 05 2016

Any homeowner associations that try to enforce rules requiring green lawns despite the drought could be fined under regulations approved this week by the state water board.

The latest drought regulations adopted by the State Water Resources Control Board enable local water districts to fine associations that seek to prevent homeowners from reducing outdoor watering or letting their grass go brown in response to the drought.

Under state laws passed since 2014, homeowner associations are already barred from interfering with residents’ water conservation efforts or trying to keep them from switching to drought-tolerant plants or artificial turf. But until the latest measures were approved, a homeowner’s only recourse if an association tried to crack down illegally was to take it to court.

The new regulations approved Tuesday give water districts the power to fine HOAs that break the law up to $500 a day.

“It was important in this latest iteration of the emergency regulations that we make it clear that the urban water suppliers can use this in their enforcement efforts,” said George Kostyrko, a spokesperson for the state water board in Sacramento. “While the state board has a definite role here, the enforcement will be more effective at the local level.”

He said the regulations give water agencies a tool to use “if they’re getting complaints from residents who are being intimidated or fined for conserving water.”

Controversies have erupted in some communities when associations have told residents they must follow landscaping guidelines and keep their grass.

The rules could have an effect on how drought-related disputes play out in some of the homeowner associations in the Coachella Valley.

Cal Lockett, executive director of the Coachella Valley chapter of Community Associations Institute, said the nonprofit has encouraged associations to contact their local water district to make sure they’re complying with drought measures. There are more than 500 community associations in the valley, out of an estimated 43,000 associations in California – including condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives.

Darren Bevan, chair of the institute's California Legislative Action Committee, said many communities have achieve tremendous water-savings, including by converting to drought-tolerant landscaping or artificial grass.

“This fine structure is brand new,” Bevan said in an emailed statement. “We are currently withholding judgement pending more information, but stand with the rest of California in being pleased to see that recent storms have brought much needed water to California.”

During the drought, some water districts have fined HOAs for failing to reduce water usage sufficiently as required under the state’s rules. Disputes have also flared between some HOA boards and groups of homeowners over how to respond to mandatory water conservation rules.

James McCormick, a lawyer who represents HOAs in Southern California, said he recently was involved in a mediation process involving a Coachella Valley association board and a group of homeowners who disagreed on the pace of scaling back on water usage.

“The difficulty that we’re facing is, associations are trying to meet those standards and meeting those standards is going to require oftentimes whole-scale revisions to the landscaping scheme,” McCormick said. “That costs money and that’s the biggest question: how do we accomplish this as quickly as possible with the funds that we have available, or the funds that we can generate?”

As for the possibility of water agencies slapping fines on associations, McCormick said he thinks enforcement will be difficult because the law still allows HOAs to set reasonable restrictions to maintain aesthetics, and it’s unclear how officials will determine which restrictions are permissible and which aren’t.

He said he thinks issuing fines doesn’t seem to be a productive way of moving toward the goal of reducing water usage.

Katie Ruark, conservation manager for the Coachella Valley Water District, said the agency will need to evaluate the measure adopted by the state board.

The new regulations, which take the place of previous drought rules that expire this month, will also slightly ease the mandatory conservation targets for many of the state’s water districts. Water districts in the Coachella Valley will have their reduction goals somewhat reduced starting in March to account for the desert’s hot climate.


World's First Luxury Animal Terminal July 21 2015

An airport terminal with a swimming pool, suites equipped with flat-screen TVs, customized departure lounges and around-the-clock medical care sounds like a dream come true for airline passengers.

Sorry, human frequent fliers, this one is for animals.

Horses, birds, pets and livestock arriving at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport will sit in the lap of luxury when the airport's state-of-the-art animal terminal opens in 2016.

The $48 million, 178,000-square-foot facility, called the Ark at JFK, is billed by developer Racebrook Capital as the "world's only privately owned animal terminal and USDA-approved, full-service, 24-hour, airport quarantine facility for import and export of horses, pets, birds and livestock."

Construction of the new terminal is under way on the former site of Cargo Building 78, which has been vacant at JFK for nearly a decade. Organizers have signed a 30-year lease with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

"The animal terminal will set new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services," Ark founder and Racebrook Chairman John J. Cuticelli Jr. said in a statement.

    Among the new terminal's offerings:

    • A large animal departure lounge offering stalls, food and water for horses

    • Individual climate-controlled units for horses, equipped with bedding and natural light

    • LifeCare veterinary hospital offering general and emergency care including surgery and advanced diagnostics

    • A 24-hour Paradise 4 Paws pet resort featuring a bone-shaped dog pool, pet suites with a flat-screen TV option and a jungle gym for cats

    • Paradise 4 Paws grooming, obedience training and pet massage therapy

    • A livestock export handling system


    DeSales starts work on new sports complex October 21 2014

    Try to picture it: a 3,000-seat sports complex, a new practice field, more than 100 added parking spots on DeSales High School's campus.

    It's difficult to imagine, school president Doug Strothman said, but once the school's monastery and five homes next to the Iroquois campus are torn down, the picture will be clear.

    In February, the school began fundraising efforts for a $4 million-project that includes building an artificial turf field and sports complex so students can play all levels of football, baseball and soccer games at home.

    The school, on Kenwood Drive, has since expanded the project to a $6 million-effort that includes demolishing the five homes and building a grass practice field.

    Visual progress of the project finally started showing this week when a bulldozer ripped into the long-standing monastery, which sat vacant on the property for the past 10 years.

    "Our community has been waiting for something significant like this to happen for a while," Strothman said. "There was buzz in the building today just seeing a hole in the monastery."

    Watching the monastery's destruction is bittersweet, Strothman and director of advancement Josh Blandford said, but for the school to move forward, the empty building had to go.

    The three-story monastery was built in 1957 as living quarters for Carmelite priests who worked at the school, Blandford said. About 30 people lived in the building at one point, but the last Carmelite priest moved out in 2004, and the building has been used mostly for storage since.

    "We will always treasure the Carmelite past," Blandford said. "They laid a tremendous foundation for what we now, today have here. Without them, we would not be the same place at all."

    Once the demolition is finished, the school will be able to start building the turf field and a new parking lot where the monastery stood. The field will run north-south, behind the school's L-shaped building, and will have seating for 3,000 fans. Two field houses will have concession stands, restrooms, locker rooms and athletic department offices.

    Strothman said construction on the sports complex could begin at the end of this year's football season or be held for a year, depending on when planning is completed.

    The school plans to demolish the five homes in January and will plant the grass practice field so it's ready by next fall, Strothman said.

    The soccer team and a proposed lacrosse team will mainly use the practice field, while the baseball and football teams will use the turf field.

    Currently, the soccer team practices off campus and the varsity football team plays all away games. The additions will allow all sports to stay on site, Strothman said.

    "A big part of the initiative is trying to get as many of our students and their after school activities on our campus instead of sending them out into various parts of the community," he said.

    DeSales has raised nearly $1.7 million toward the project and plans to pay for the rest with loans, Strothman said. The project should be completed within the next 12 to 18 months.


    Grass firm is a growing success October 08 2014

    Easigrass North East is a leading installer of artificial grass products for home and commercial use.

    Hebburn-born John Devlin bought into the Easigrass franchise early last year after previously working in the paving industry.

    Mr Devlin, 33, was looking for a new challenge, after being involved in the landscaping sector since the age of 18.

    Now his artificial grass franchise business employs nine people – including five from his native Hebburn – and he plans to further boost the workforce to 12 by next January.

    He said: “The first six months saw us having to grow faster than was initially planned and more Easigrass teams were brought in and trained with the Easigrass methods.”

    The company’s work portfolio includes everything from domestic gardens to supplying trade customers, plus bigger commercial projects, such as work at the MetroCentre, Gateshead.

    Last year was busier than expected and continued growth is predicted in 2015.

    Mr Devlin added: “2014 has continued in the same vein, with smaller displays now appearing in garden centres around the North East, with a fantastic spring and summer display in the house and garden section at John Lewis, in Eldon Square, Newcastle.”

    Next year is set to be even more successful for Easigrass North East, including the launch of the North of England’s first artificial grass showroom. Mr Devlin said that new apprentices will be recruited in January, as part of the company’s expansion plans, which include a new base in Gateshead.


    Drought shuts down Pacifica surfer showers October 03 2014

    The latest casualty of California’s drought is showers for surfers.

    The city of Pacifica, just south of San Francisco, announced Thursday that it will seek to save water by reducing the number of shower heads at three coastal spots popular with surfers.

    Under the directive, shower heads at both Linda Mar Beach and Rockaway Beach will be reduced from two to one, and from four to two at Sharp Park near the pier.

    City leaders did not immediately return phone calls, but the water department’s website said the city was working to conserve water, recently declaring a “Stage 2″ water shortage and putting in place restrictions on outdoor water use.

    Pacifica’s water comes from Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy, which is owned and operated by San Francisco’s water agency.

    In January, Gov. Brown declared a statewide drought emergency and urged communities to reduce their water consumption by 20 percent.


    Bills Help Upgrade Field in Niagara Falls to Artificial Turf September 26 2014

    NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills and the local Initiatives Support Corporation teamed up to upgrade Nicoletti Field in Niagara Falls to synthetic turf.

    A $200,000 grant went towards adding the turf.

    "It's always great to have a turf field. It lets you control the elements," said rookie Bills OL Cyrus Kouandjio. "Let's say the grass is too muddy, you can slip, twist an ankle. You never know. You have more control with a turf field. It's a better choice."

    Last year, the Bills donated money for upgrading the field at Mulroy Park in South Buffalo.


    Arlington's new artificial playing surface leaves just one grass field in Wesco September 02 2014

    The growth in popularity of the spread offense among Snohomish County football teams in recent years wouldn't have been possible if not for the evolution of the surfaces those teams play on. In the late 1990s, most of the area's high school teams ran and tackled on grass, a surface that dramatically wears down over the course of a season.

     

    “If you would have come to a game at Everett Memorial Stadium 18 years ago, by week seven, eight and nine from hash mark to hash mark, it was mud,” said Jackson head coach Joel Vincent, who was an assistant coach in 1997. “There was no grass. When you get field conditions like that, you can be the best spread team on earth, and you can have the best athletes on earth, but you can't run a spread offense on a field like that. You just can't do it.”

     

    The goal of a spread offense is to create space where skilled offensive players can utilize their speed and quickness, then get them the ball, usually via a quick pass. A muddy field tends to neutralize a team's speed.

     

    And according to The Herald's 1997 All-Area Defensive Player of the Year, Everett's Corey Gunnerson, not only was the field at Everett Memorial muddy, it wasn't even level.

     

    “It used to be if you stood on one sideline you couldn't see the other sideline because it had so much of an arch in it,” he said. “With the turf field, it's flat and the grip is there. I think it levels it out a little more and allows for more speed.”

     

    Grass fields started disappearing around the time this year's seniors were born, but it's taken their entire lifetimes for grass to become nearly extinct at Wesco stadiums. With Arlington's switch to turf this fall, Stanwood remains the only school that plays its home games on a grass surface.

     

    When offenses were run-dominant, playing on grass wasn't a big issue because power and strength were arguably more important than speed. The spread offense changed all that.

     

    “The part that gets chewed up is between the hashes, which is where the ball is every time,” Gunnerson said. “When you're running the old-school wing-T, it's not as big of a deal because your quarterback is taking two steps and you're handing the ball off, or you're pitching it to the outside and you can get to the clean grass and actually get some speed.”

     

    Teams that wanted to pass on chewed up grass surfaces had to improvise. Former Arlington quarterback Scott Faries, The Herald's All-Area Offensive Player of the Year in 1997, recalls a late-season game at Stanwood on a rainy, muddy night where his team needed a big play.

     

    “There was no place (to run) except one strip of grass which ran like 75 yards down the field,” Faries said. “We were on about (our own) 20-yard-line and my coach looked at me and said, ‘Go for it.' So I looked at my wide receiver in the huddle and I said, ‘See that strip of grass. I want you to line up on that and we're just going to run straight down (the strip of grass) because there is only mud everywhere else.' That's the only place you could get traction.” The play resulted in a touchdown, Faries said.

     

    Stanwood and whatever team it hosts for its home games are the only Wesco schools that have to contend with a muddy surface on Friday nights, but practice is another story. Jackson and Cascade, for example, both practice on grass fields.

     

    “Our field at Jackson High School, by mid-October on, is difficult,” Vincent said. “There's usually standing water, there's mud, and we're trying to practice our spread stuff. We do the best we can because we know on Friday that we're going to get a good surface to run it, but it doesn't mean that running practice is easy.”

    Sanford airport hopes fake grass will keep birds away May 14 2014

    A central Florida airport want to install artificial turf to deter birds from hanging around the planes.

    Sanford International Airport officials say birds cause problems for dozens of planes a year. One jet had to make an emergency landing after a bird flew into one of its engines.

    In 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration spent more than $100,000 on air cannons to scare away birds. Airport officials tell WFTV that they now want to take a quieter approach.

    Officials say artificial turf doesn't retain water or food, so the birds won't want to hang around the airport.

    Three acres of the fake grass has been proposed for the north side of the airport at a cost of more than $500,000. Airport officials plan to finalize the project next month.