One interesting projected completed in 2015 was the UCLA BIOBASED ASTROTURF INTRAMURAL FIELD. The project vision began about ten years ago, according to Mike Deluca, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Campus Life at UCLA. Over the years, the university had noticed both an increase in enrollment and also the growing concerns about water usage in California. Width 42,000 students, there was a high demand for use of the IM Field. In addition to intramural sports, drop-in recreation, and other student activities, fourteen field based club sport team as well as the UCLA Marching Band use the field weekly. In is also heavily used for summer camp programs, and large special events like the 2015 World Special Olympic Games.
In the middle of the University of California, Los Angeles campus is the nearly eight acre Intramural Athletic Field (IM Field). In the summer of 2015, UCLA installed biobased AstroTurf ®: in the previously sod IM Field. This change will save 6.5 million gallons of water each year and allows for 365 days of use for the tens of thousands of students and campus community members involved in recreation and sports at UCLA. The biobased AstroTurf is made with soy-based backing, a product called BioCel™ by Universal Textile Technologies (UTT). BioCel uses polyol derived from soybean oil to displace 60% of petroleum-based polyol in AstroTurf.
Previously, the grass field had to be closed for up to four months a year for reseeding and maintenance. It also required the application of pesticides and fertilizers, and regular watering. The need for a safe, playable and sustainable field was clear to the University. Deluca says that the IM Field provides multiple benefits, “it is a significant sustainable practice through water savings, it is an urban location that will give 35% more field use in the same amount of acreage, and it becomes the showcase of activity and inclusion through student and community events.”