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An In-depth Look at Long-term Solutions for Climate Change Resilience

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), climate change refers to a wide array of global changes predicted to occur in the next several decades and beyond. That includes rising temperatures, changes in precipitation, sea level rise, and extreme weather events. Climate change has the potential to create significant impacts on communities, economies, and ecosystems.

As the world becomes more aware of the effects of climate change, there is a growing need for solutions that will help us adapt and become more resilient to the changes taking place.

Climate change resilience is the ability of a system, community, or society to adapt to climate change and minimize the negative impacts. Climate change resilience measures how well a system can withstand and recover from the effects of climate change.

Many approaches can be taken to climate change resilience, and the most effective solutions will likely be a combination of several strategies.

For instance, the Biden administration allocated more than $3.46 billion in August 2021 to fortify the country against the effects of climate change. Through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, states, tribes, and territories received funding for initiatives that help mitigate climate change.

The funds were released for use in the 59 areas declared disaster zones since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. The budget for this program includes protection measures for utilities and other essential facilities from flooding. Also highlighted was the importance of implementing nature-based solutions.

How Engineered Earth Armoring Systems Protect UA Solar Zone

The University of Arizona has been a leader in developing and testing new solar technologies for more than a decade. The UA Solar Zone is a 10-acre site with a 5-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant, with 95,000 solar panels and more than 100 solar concentrators that generate power. It's the largest solar power test facility in the U.S. and has been used to develop and test new solar technologies for residential, commercial, and utility-scale applications.

The Solar Zone is a critical part of the university's commitment to sustainability and is designed to be resilient to climate change. The site includes an engineered earth armoring system that protects the area from flash flooding and erosion while allowing flexibility to accommodate changes in the landscape.

The earth armoring system consists of a high-performance turf reinforcement mat and soil pins. The earth armoring system is just one of the many features that make the UA Solar Zone a climate change resilient solar power plant design model. It's leading the way in developing renewable energy solutions that can withstand the impact of climate change.

The performance criteria for channel stabilization materials have traditionally focused on hydraulic parameters such as flow rate and sediment transport. However, the earth armoring system at the UA Solar Zone uses a multidisciplinary approach that takes into account hydraulic and geotechnical parameters. The system was designed to resist the forces of floods and erosion while allowing the flexibility to accommodate changes in the landscape.

Non-hydraulic characteristics, including UV resistance, tensile strength, and maintenance, significantly impact the field performance of alternative flexible channel liners. Long-term design life and durability were critical criteria for selecting the alternative flexible channel liner for this project.

Temperatures in UA Tech Park regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer, and the city of Tucson has little greenery and high levels of ultraviolet radiation. The design engineer sought a more economically viable flexible channel lining that could withstand severe desert conditions and still provide robust erosion control during flood episodes.

The design and performance requirements ruled out several alternative flexible channel liner solutions in favor of Pyramat® 75 High-Performance Turf Reinforcement Mat (HPTRM) from Propex.

Why Pyramat® 75 High-Performance Turf Reinforcement Mat (HPTRM)?

Pyramat® 75 High-Performance Turf Reinforcement Mat (HPTRM) is engineered to promote vegetation. Made of UV-stabilized, high-strength polypropylene yarns and woven into a three-dimensional matrix, the mat is 75 mm (3 inches) thick and weighs approximately 1.2 kg/m2 (0.24 lb/ft2). It's easy to transport and install and does not require special equipment. 

HPTRM has a 75-year design life, even when exposed to direct sunlight, and is an effective solution for channel stabilization, stormwater management, and erosion control in various applications, including arid conditions. 

The Pyramat® 75 HPTRM was installed in the UA Solar Zone to provide long-term vegetative stabilization of the soil and erosion control during flood events. The mat was placed on top of the existing soil and anchored with steel pins.

Erosion Control - Pyramat
Because of its high tensile strength, UV resistance, and hydraulic performance, the Pyramat® 75 HPTRM was the clear choice for the UA Solar Zone project.

UV Resistance
UV resistance is essential when selecting a channel lining material for arid regions. The Pyramat® 75 HPTRM is made of UV-stabilized, high-strength polypropylene yarns that resist degradation from UV exposure.

Tensile Strength
The Pyramat® 75 HPTRM is made of high-strength geotextiles that give the mat a high tensile strength. These high-performance turf reinforcement mats and fasteners allow the mat to resist the forces of floods and erosion while remaining flexible enough to accommodate changes in the landscape.

Hydraulic Performance
The Pyramat® 75 HPTRM was designed to provide hydraulic performance in a sparsely vegetated environment. The mat has a high infiltration rate and low permeability and performs as well as sand and gravel bags, if not better. This allows water to infiltrate the soil, reducing erosion risk quickly.

On top of these already outstanding properties, the Pyramat® 75 HPTRM was a cost-effective solution that met the needs of the UA Solar Zone project. The mat was easy to transport and install and required no special equipment.
Natural Look
It also maintains a natural appearance that fits in with the desert landscape, unlike other channel lining materials such as concrete or PVC. The UA Solar Park is an international leader in green energy research, and the facility's designers wanted to maintain a natural look. After installation, the Pyramat® 75 HPTRM lined channel has achieved 20-30% vegetation density in most areas and in some locations achieved more than 50%, an impressive result in harsh arid conditions.

Environmentally Friendly

In addition to promoting vegetation and improving water quality, Pyramat® 75 HPTRM is also environmentally friendly. It's made of recycled polypropylene plastic and does not require any solvents for installation, which eliminates volatile organic compound emissions. Pyramat® 75 HPTRM also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon in the vegetation it promotes.
Erosion Control - Reinforced Vegetation

Why White Cap

As the world’s climate changes, it's becoming increasingly important for businesses and organizations to become more resilient.

At White Cap, we provide building materials and fasteners, plus erosion, waterproofing, and safety products such as wattles, logs, and composite socks that can help make your projects more resilient to climate change. You can count on our knowledgeable pros to provide the expertise and resources to make your projects more climate change resilient.
Why not get a free quote for the pricing you need?

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