Not one, or two, or three, ... but 10 new Mondo artificial turf football fields have been installed over a 3 month period in Zaragoza. This is a record number of fields installed in record time which makes Zaragoza more 'eco-efficient' than other cities in Spain.
The face of Zaragoza has been changing since the International Water Exhibition in 2008. The banks of the Ebro River took on a new life, becoming an area of healthy leisure, complete with modern bridges that join both sides of the city. The Water Park, with about 120 acres has become a new green space with bicycles lanes making it easy to ride around the city.
The legacy of the 'green' Expo continues and several streets in Zaragoza have become pedestrian-only, ecological city buses are replacing those that produce carbon dioxide emissions, and of the 10,000 city lights, two thirds of the lamps use LEDs.
Visitors will find a friendly city, more open, and more in tune with the environment. During the Expo Zaragoza it was spoken of the 'Blue Tide' which refers to a contingent of volunteers that are aware of the environment and sustainability. Perhaps now we can speak of emergence of a new “Green Tide”.
It was part of the City's initiative for the first quarter of 2011 to replace the natural grass municipal football fields with eco-efficient artificial turf fields that will generate social, economic and environmental benefits.
On January 10, 2011 the countdown was set in motion. The goal was to install 10 artificial turf soccer fields within three months and a project completion date of March 30, 2011. A team of 70 people went to work, they knew that to manufacture and install 7 artificial turf football fields, it took about six weeks, and a for the other soccer fields 11 - 12 weeks, but how could they install not one, not two , but 10 pitches simultaneously?
"The goal was further complicated by the discovery that some fields were paved, while others were earth and some did not exist," says Miguel Mendes, Chief of the Sports Facilities Unit for the City of Zaragoza.
This meant that this was not a simple substitution of material, but required the building of full-scale facilities: irrigation drains were placed, gutters, curbs, lighting, markers, benches, metal walls and partitions, access doors, equipment and stands.
The outcome was even better than expected. "No doubt, the deadline is a record. In fact, the period specified in Technical Specification for 11 football fields was 180 days and it was done in almost less than half the time, "said Mendes. "It was excellent, we've surprised ourselves, the speed and efficiency we have shown in this operation," said Manuel Gomez, director of Major Accounts Mondo Iberica, with great satisfaction. "We are pleased with the performance of the work, as well as the finished quality."
To explain the advantages of this innovative project, Manuel Gomez advocates the assimilation increasing awareness of the relationship between sustainability, design and value. "Resources have been implemented to save on electricity and water, providing the facilities a half load on tower to tower and an irrigation system to meet the demands of the game, but at the same time finding savings," and added to that "it is sought to have the least expensive maintenance facilities possible."
In fact, a natural grass soccer field requires approximately 3,000 liters of water daily, three times more than necessary for an artificial field. To this we must add the need for monthly services including chemicals such as herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, reseeding and markings.
For Mendo the reasons for starting this 'green tide' have been clear for some time, in fact 29 municipal playing fields have already been changed. "The first advantage is the use of field profitability: Increased number of practices and games," he says. A second argument that Gomez confirms with hard numbers is according to comparative studies conducted in various Spanish stadiums that have artificial turf fields, the field is "unusable" an average of 154 days a year. This is due to the need to pay to have the field replanted, treated or simply due to flooded fields.
This means that the annual utilization of a natural grass field is about 618 hours, while that of an artificial turf system is about 2,880 hours, a difference of 366 percent. This difference can at the same time offer more field rental hours. In addition, if hours of use increase so does the number of users who can enjoy the facilities. For example, the average number of users per year is 17,304 for natural turf and 82,080 for an artificial turf field.
In addition, savings in operating and maintenance costs are substantial expenses, in the case of a natural grass field it is approximately 25,000 euros per year, whereas with an artificial turf field it barely reaches approximately 4,000 euros per year.
The director of municipal sports facilities for Zaragoza notes that "comfort is no less important than cleanliness and player safety, excellent cushioning and wear resistance" when choosing this type of surface. That is why for many years, "Zaragoza City Council has relied upon the good work and quality products of Mondo. The turf installed is the latest generation and its characteristics and performance are highly valued by the club managers of the municipal. "
Indeed, he believes that this "green tide" can easily be extended to other municipalities, as "sport managers in other cities are already aware of the advantages of artificial turf."
The artificial turf installed in these 10 fields is Monofibre 3NX with 60 mm height. This turf is designed for sports like soccer where the surface is severely punished by the large number of users. Qualities such as durability and strength, among other characteristics allow high profitability of the installations, minimal maintenance and reduced risk of injury for athletes.