Reducing water consumption by leveling the playing field

Reducing water consumption by leveling the playing field

Vanderbilt University’s all AstroTurf® baseball field is an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of saving water.

In our recently released Eco Pulse 2013™ report, we again find that reducing water consumption is not high on consumers’ list of priorities.

The number of people who said they avoid letting the water run or have installed water-saving fixtures is discouragingly low. The importance of encouraging consumers to make changes to their water consumption is becoming increasingly important as this finite resource continues to be stretched to its limit. But gloom and doom messaging won’t work.

We did have success with our Wasting Water is Weird campaign by personifying water-wasting actions with the slightly creepy character Rip the Drip. This grabbed viewers’ attention and made many of them cognizant of their water-wasting tendencies.

By presenting the problem in a different, humorous way, many consumers became educated and took small steps toward water conservation.

But what if we were able to combine water conservation with something completely out in left field? Vanderbilt University’s baseball stadium presents an interesting water conservation opportunity. Last fall Vandy replaced its entire baseball field with AstroTurf® GameDay Grass™.

Putting synthetic turf on a playing field isn’t new – athletic fields around the world are covered in this material. What is new is that the ENTIRE field is covered in turf, including the infield.

In fact, the only part of the field that isn’t synthetic is the pitcher’s mound. The infield is AstroTurf, with a mixture of sand and rubber granules over the top to give players that familiar dirt feel.

While the coaches admit the transition to synthetic turf was made mostly to prevent weather-related scheduling headaches, the water conservation benefit presents a golden opportunity for educating the public and promoting the university’s conservation initiatives.

Imagine having Water Night at the ballpark, where Vandy draws attention to the problem of water waste and highlights the field’s reduced water use. The EPA’s WaterSense® program could sponsor it and feature some creative baseball-themed ways of further shedding light on water waste.

Presenting water conservation in a unique way offers a great chance to reach more people and encourage them to make some water-saving behavior changes.

Now, if we could just produce some Rip the Drip bobble head dolls, we’d have a real home run.


Posted on

July 15, 2013

About the Author

Pat Lorentz

Pat is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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