When we moved to Corte Madera CA from Sydney Australia the family was invited to a local cocktail party. The back garden of this designer home was a lush oasis bordering a deep square of luxuriant grass. Real grass. My girls immediately took their shoes off and walked over it in raptures - how long has it been since Sydney has seen long, lush, trafficable grass?
Not only does real grass sequester CO2 (well, as long as it is not overmaintained and fertilized in which case it adds to the bad according to this study) but it has a psychological calming and cooling effect - and of course if it is used on a green roof it has terrific insulating and energy-saving properties.
What baffles me are the cities and councils that PAY people to replace their real grass with....plastic. A covering through which the worms cannot breathe, real plants cannot grow and compost cannot pass. Would you pour a thin layer of oil down as a landscape treatment? Do you not worry that the offgassing inherent in many synthetic polymers is not present in your plastic lawn?
Finding information on what artificial turf is actually made of is fairly difficult but here is a terrific blog where the author measured the heat reflecting off artificial turf - and a variety of other manmade and natural surfaces - on a hot day. VERY instructive - turf was higher than asphalt. Read on here.
I am going to investigate the materials side of artificial turf and report back.