TEMPE, Ariz. – Synthetic grasses like NewGrass™ may get hotter than natural turf under a harsh sun, but they also cool off very quickly when you step on them, a long-term research project has concluded.

The findings are important because for years, artificial lawns have had a bad reputation for heating up to uncomfortable and possibly harmful temperatures in some climates. But until now, an impartial source had not studied the cooling properties of synthetic grasses.

Artificial grass also doesn’t fade under the extreme Arizona sun, the study is showing.

The findings are from a long-term, ongoing water conservation research project sponsored by the country’s third-largest public utility company. The Salt River Project (SRP) is sponsoring the research as part of its ongoing efforts to help give consumers new and better information about water conservation alternatives. The project has put synthetic grass side-by-side with natural local grasses and xeriscaping.

After more than 1½ years of observing, testing and evaluating several plots of artificial grass, the SRP says it can give synthetic grass the thumbs up as a genuine water conservation alternative.,

“It seems durable. It hasn’t faded. It needs a little maintenance, but really next to none,” said Marc Campbell, a water planning analyst with utility provider and director of the research project. “You need to rake it from time to time to keep the blades looking full. And you need to hose it off to remove the dust that inevitably lands on it, with the winds and dust we get here.”

SRP tested the differences in temperature between the synthetic grass, asphalt, xeriscape landscape and natural grass. And while the synthetic grass can get quite hot, especially under central Arizona’s harsh summer sun it also cooled off quickly underfoot and has never gotten so hot that it’s burned anyone’s feet, Campbell said.

“You couldn’t stand on that asphalt without burning your feet, but the synthetic turf cooled down rapidly under the foot … since it doesn’t retain heat,” Campbell said,

Campbel also said that in the shade, synthetic grass didn’t heat up as much as asphalt and cooled much more quickly.

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