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January 23, 2016

Energy Conservation

energy conservation

  • Trees can conserve energy with their shading and their cooling effect by releasing moisture into the air. Three or more large trees placed on sunny sides of a house shade it from the hot summer sun. Deciduous trees are best for this use because they lose their leaves in winter, exposing the house to the warming winter sun, thus lowering the energy needed to heat the house. Coniferous trees, because they retain their needles year-round, make good screens and serve as windbreaks when placed in the path of the prevailing winds.
  • Trees can create a reduced wind or still area and lower winter cold air infiltration and exchange in a house.
  • An appropriate shade tree planted today on the west side of your home should, in 5 years, reduce your summer air conditioning energy bills 3%. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%. An equal east side planting should show combined energy savings of up to 23% (USDA).
  • Shade from the establishment of 100 million mature trees appropriately placed around residences (three per residence) in the United States is estimated to save about $2 billion annually in reduced energy costs (Akbari et al. 1988, 1992; Donovan and Butry 2009).
  • Data from California shows that 50 million shade trees planted in strategic, energy-saving locations could eliminate the need for seven 100- megawatt power plants (USDA).
  • Trees planted in these numbers will reduce the summertime peak demand that has led to increased prices and potential blackout.
  • A tree shading a home air conditioner, but not blocking the air flow from it, has been estimated to improve its efficiency by 10% (Coder, 1966).
  • Evaporation from tree leaves cools the air resulting in further reduction of summer air conditioning costs (Coder, 1966).
  • Trees can reduce the wind speed around homes improving heating efficiency.
  • Trees can block winter winds and reduce the apparent outside air temperature, “the wind chill factor.”

The American Association of Landscape Architects has created an animated video of the energy benefits of trees that makes pree placement, function and use of trees for seasonal shade and wind control understandable.

Back To Benefits of Trees

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