Did You Know Trees Reduce Energy Consumption?
A study by the Center for Urban Forest Research found: Increasing the urban forest canopy in California by 30% could reduce energy consumption enough that it would eliminate the need to build seven 100 MW power plants.
Trees Reduce Energy Costs
A large tree strategically planted on the west side of a house can save more than 400 kWh of energy use or more than $65 a year. More trees equal more savings!
Reduce Urban Heat Island Effect
A study of New York City by scientists at NASA and Columbia University found that planting street trees is the most efficient way to reduce the urban heat island effect and therefore urban energy use.
Fewer Greenhouse Gases
When a tree helps save energy, it doesn’t just save dollars and kilowatt-hours. Every bit of energy conserved means fewer greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and fewer air pollutants!
EnerTrees reports and data
- California EnerTrees Final Report PDF, by the California Urban Forests Council
- Marin’s Urban Forest – A Guide to Stakeholders PDF, by the California Urban Forests Council
- Marin County Urban Forest Canopy Cover Assessment PDF, by Q. Xiao, J. Bartens, G. McPherson, J. Simpson, and E. Hines
- Marin County Canopy Cover Assessment data files, ZIP. Data courtesy of UC Davis and the US Forest Service’s Urban Ecosystems and Processes Team.
- Land cover analysis GIS files (1.6 GB) available on request. Data courtesy of San Francisco State University. Request here.
Strategic planting for energy conservation
For advice on where to plant trees for the greatest energy benefits, see the How to Plant Trees to Conserve Energy series, from the Arbor Day Foundation:
The i-Tree Design web tool is a great way to see how the benefits of trees change as you change their planting location, the species, and as they grow over time.
Guidelines for choosing, planting and caring for your tree
- CALFIRE’s Urban Forestry Technical Specifications and Guidelines, PDF, 1.1 MB. It’s not pretty and can be kind of technical, but it has lots of helpful pictures and it’s packed with great information.
- SF’s Friends of the Urban Forest has some good suggestions and a helpful video on how to plant a tree. Their webpages on tree care are very useful.
- The Arbor Day Foundation also has good tips for planting bare root vs containerized vs balled and burlapped trees.
Energy conservation, greenhouse gas reduction and other benefits of trees
For an overview of how trees conserve energy and reduce greenhouse gases, see “Planting Trees to Fight Global Climate Change,” by Kelaine Vargas Ravdin, in California Trees (Spring 2008).
For great coverage of the many environmental and other benefits of trees, see your region’s Community Tree Guide from the US Forest Service:
- Tree Guidelines for Coastal Southern California Communities PDF, 1.8 MB
- Desert Southwest Community Tree Guide PDF, 3.6 MB
- Tree Guidelines for Inland Empire Communities PDF, 2.2 MB
- Interior West Community Tree Guide PDF, 4.4 MB
- Northeast Community Tree Guide PDF, 4.4 MB
- Northern California Coast Community Tree Guide PDF, 3.1 MB
- Tree Guidelines for San Joaquin Valley Communities PDF, 1.2 MB
- Temperate Interior West Community Tree Guide PDF, 3.8 MB