### http://www.architectmagazine.com January 20, 2010 at 4:41 PM
The Grass Isn’t Always Greener
By Lance Hosey
As I reported in my December 21st post, many universities, communities, and organisations are adopting “no mow” policies to avoid the cost and consequences of conventional grass lawns. Now new research reveals the magnitude of these consequences.
In a study about to be published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, scientists at University of California, Irvine, show that the emissions from fertiliser production, mowing, leaf blowing and other conventional maintenance practices are four times greater than the amount of carbon stored by grass in parks and lawns. Four times! And this doesn’t even take into account the amount of water needed for the grass, by area the most common irrigated crop in the US.
Carbon absorption is a standard argument for cultivating more vegetation in developed landscapes, but unless it’s the right vegetation, kept up in the right way, it can do more harm than good.
-Contributing editor and author of ARCHITECT’s monthly Eco column, Lance Hosey, AIA, LEED AP, Hon. FIGP, is an architect and former director with William McDonough + Partners. With Kira Gould, he is the co-author of Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design (2007); his forthcoming book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design, studies how form and image can enhance conservation, comfort, and community at every scale of design, from products to cities.
Post by Elizabeth Kerr