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Auto GEMO Arena, VfB Bezau, Bezau

February 2023

Market town of Bezau assumes a pioneering role

Austria’s first carbon-neutral synthetic turf is installed in Vorarlberg

The Austrian market town of Bezau in Vorarlberg has just over 2,000 residents and subsists predominantly on agriculture and tourism to the Bregenzerwald region. Football is a big deal in the small community: for almost 50 years, the Bezauer Kickers have been active on the local scene in Bregenzerwald. However, the original sports pitch was suitable for youth games, at best. A new sports facility was built with the founding of the sports association “Verein für Bewegungsspiele” (VfB) in 1987. Since then, the Auto GEMO Arena has been home to the “Wälderhaus VfB Bezau”, situated directly on the banks of the Bregenzer Ach – a location that almost became the club’s downfall, as the sports facilities were periodically flooded and silted over by devastating floodwaters. The first ever synthetic turf pitch was installed in the course of the necessary renovations.

16 years later, in spring 2022, the pitch was in urgent need of renovation or replacement, due to intensive use. For example, around 160 children use the pitch three times a week. The decision was made all the more urgent by the fact that the recommended usage period of the existing synthetic turf had already been exceeded by two years, and the number of people renting the pitch was declining due to its terrible condition.

The original idea to revert the pitch to natural grass was scrapped by the Bezau municipal council due to numerous drawbacks – such as high maintenance costs, the short playing season, fewer playing hours per year, and lack of winter utility. Instead, the council opted for a modern synthetic turf pitch, which consistently provides a useful space all year round. In summer 2022, on behalf of SP Sportanlagenbau Ges.m.b.H. from Mautern an der Donau, we realised Austria’s first ever carbon-neutral synthetic turf with LigaTurf Cross GT zero by Polytan at the Auto GEMO Arena in Bezau.

LigaTurf Cross GT zero is the world’s first climate-neutral football turf for professional and amateur sports. It combines environmental friendliness with sustainability, without compromising on durability and functional properties, and meets the highest standards, even with frequent use. Polytan LigaTurf Cross GT zero is based on sustainable, organic PE raw materials, sourced from non-recyclable sugar cane. In Bezau, our climate-neutral synthetic turf is combined with environmentally friendly cork infill and Polytan PolyBase GT, our elasticising layer with the ecological advantage of a recyclable product and revolutionary technology for the reuse of carbon dioxide. This combination fulfils the requirements of both municipal and private investors, as well as the high standards of players and users.

A critical factor in the Bezau municipal council’s decision was that the synthetic turf could be sustainably and ecologically integrated in the facility. Another contributing factor was Bezau’s admission to “e5”, the Austrian programme for energy-efficient communities. The programme assists and supports communities in modernising their energy and climate policies, saving energy and thus costs, and using renewable energy sources. By participating in the “Mission zero” process, the community wants to actively fight the effects of climate change in the coming years. The municipal council’s decision states that LigaTurf Cross GT zero is not only the most viable option from an economic perspective, but is also climate-neutral, sustainable, and contributes to “e5”. Here at Polytan, we are proud to support Bezau in this ambitious, pioneering role with our products, and provide the kickers at VfB Wälderhaus Bezau a solid, long-lasting foundation for their sporting activities. Currently, the facility is used by nine team with around 190 players.

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