Environmental Approach

From the beginning of Natural Grass product design, a special attention has been given to sustainable development. This commitment resulted in numerous studies to assess the environmental impact of our installations and optimize the advantages of natural green surfaces.

The main component of the AirFibr technology, natural cork, is a synthesis of the three main pillars of sustainable development¹

An ecological material

The life cycle assessment of cork² shows that it is a net carbon sink. The cork oaks absorb CO2 through photosynthesis in order to produce cork. The carbon emissions produced by harvesting, processing, and transporting cork are significantly lower than the amount of carbon stored in the cork. Hence, for each cubic meter of cork, more than 200 kg of CO2 are stored.

At the heart of economic issues…

The cork processing industry was structured around the production of cork bottle caps. This activity is endangered by the boom of synthetic and aluminium bottle caps. With its technology, Natural Grass offers a new market opportunity to cork-oak forests.

…with strong social impacts

The global cork industry generates more than 100 000 jobs in Europe that cannot be relocated, many of which are located in rural Portuguese regions. Hence, the safeguarding of this activity is vital.

The numerous benefits of natural surfaces

Thanks to their eco-systemic dynamics and regulation mechanisms, natural green surfaces are very useful in cities with scarce natural surfaces.

Rainwater management

After infiltration in the soil, rainwaters are absorbed by plants like grass. This avoids the need for water transportation and treatment and also prevents from flood risks during severe rainfalls.

Mitigation of urban heat effect

In large cities, where artificial dark surfaces are highly concentrated, temperature are higher than in the neighbouring countryside. Thanks to plants evapotranspiration, natural surfaces mitigate this effect.

Air pollutant capture

Natural surfaces tend to capture some air pollutants³ such as microparticles, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.

 

(1) L’univers du Liège, une source de richesses pour la nature et les hommes, Dr Pedro Regato with the support of WWF (2008)
(2) Evaluation of the environmental impacts of Cork Stoppers versus Aluminium and Plastic Closures, PriceWaterHouseCoopers (2008)
(3) Life-cycle cost-benefit analysis of extensive vegetated roof systems, Cartera & Keeler, In: Journal of Environmental Management (2007)

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