There's a trend afoot today that has the artificial turf makers on edge. Real grass. Lush, living, carefully nurtured and, now, hydronically-conditioned turf is all the rage. What gives real turf an advantage, and players the best surface going, lies hidden in the soil where roots receive warmth from miles of pipe that circulate heated fluids.
The newest and most advanced turf conditioning system in the NFL is now hard at work under the 93,200 square-foot playing field at Foxboro's new Gillette Stadium, home to the 2002 Super Bowl champs, the New England Patriots.
The Patriots' new radiant heating/turf warming system, manufactured by Watts Radiant, uses 153,000 lineal feet of PEX tubing that feeds warmth to the soil. We've installed similar systems for other sports facilities, including Safeco Field, the Champion Diamondbacks' field, and the Chicago Bear's practice field.
The key to this job was to warm the root zone. "Our soil temperatures have been perfect," said turf pro Dennis Brolin. "We're seeing very uniform heat at the 9-inch-deep root zone mix. There's minimal temperature variance throughout the whole zone."
"To optimize real grass on a professional playing field, you've got to have the system in place to support it," added Brolin. "Every detail has to fall in place. It all comes down to quality control - the right plan, the right installers, and the right materials manufactured to perfection. Watts Radiant and Emerson Swan helped us design and install what I know to be a near-perfect system."
Other members of the Radiant Dream Team included Randolph, MA-based manufacturer's rep firm, Emerson Swan, with Dick Lucy, special projects manager, appointed as overall project supervisor. And mechanical contracting firm, E.M. Duggan Co., Canton, MA, chosen to do the installations.