Climate Change and...
Registration is required but free: http://www.ecosmartlandscapes.org/
To calculate carbon dioxide sequestration and avoided emissions from building energy savings provided by up to 9 trees per residence.
Tables and charts that describe the amount of CO2 sequestered each year, the total CO2 stored, and avoided CO2 emissions from heating and cooling for the specified trees. These are generated as both tables and graphs.
U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Urban and Community Forestry Program, and EcoLayers
Online interface with downloadable graphs and Excel files.
California (planning expansion to United States)
Individual tree to 9 trees
1 (on a scale of 1-3). Minimal time investment, < 2 hours
Released for public use after beta-testing. The underlying tool equations have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
Estimating the carbon benefits of urban and neighborhood trees, projecting benefits of planting projects, planning urban forestry and landscape projects.
Registering to use ecoSmart Landscapes provides user access to the calculations that quantify tree size and growth, carbon sequestration, and energy savings. Major assumptions behind these calculations are also provided. The current beta release of the tool includes all California climate zones: data for the remainder of the U.S are due out the first quarter of 2013. The tool can be used with a PC only on Chrome, Firefox, or IE9 or greater.
Overview & Applicability
This tool can help members of the public, cities and other organizations estimate the carbon and energy impacts of trees. EcoSmart Landscapes Public is intended for residential property owners, while EcoSmart Landscapes Enterprise is for planning and management of carbon offset projects by organizations such as utilities, campuses, and municipalities.
The online tools provide quantitative data on carbon dioxide sequestration and building heating/cooling energy savings afforded by individual trees. Results can be used to estimate the greenhouse gas benefits of existing trees, to forecast future benefits, and to facilitate planning and management of carbon offset projects.
Carbon calculations are based on methodology approved by the Climate Action Reserve's Urban Forest Project Protocol. This software allows organizations to integrate public tree planting programs into their carbon offset or urban forestry programs.
Future releases of ecoSmart Landscapes will include data for the entire U.S., as well as assessment tools for stormwater runoff reduction from rainfall interception by trees and soil infiltration, water conservation, and fire risk to buildings.
EcoSmart Landscapes began as the CUFR Tree Carbon Calculator (CTCC), developed in 2008 as a downloadable program in an Excel spreadsheet. The current version of ecoSmart was released as a web-based tool with added functionality in 2012 for the state of California climate zones, and will be released in Spring 2013 for the broader U.S. It was developed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, and EcoLayers.Future releases are planned that include assessment tools for additional ecosystem services related to urban tree planting.
Inputs and outputs
Homeowners are asked to provide an address, and identify and mark the property outline and building of interest (e.g. a residential home) using a Google Maps interface. Users are then asked to:
- Mark the locations of trees on the property and/or
- Mark the locations where they wish to plant trees on the property
- Enter information on the species and size of each existing tree. Size is requested in diameter at breast height (dbh) or height or
- Users may outline the crown of the tree and the program will estimate dbh based on crown size
With the information given, the tool produces a variety of summary and detailed tables and charts. Users may select which of these tables or charts to view and/or download. Information in these reports includes:
- Aboveground biomass for individual trees or the set of selected trees (lbs)
- Total amount of CO2 stored in each tree or set of trees (lbs)
- CO2 sequestered per year for each tree or set of trees. (lbs)
- Amount of energy used for heating and cooling the building, with and without the selected trees (BTU’s)
- CO2 emissions avoided from heating and cooling, given the selected trees (lbs).
Restrictions and limitations
There are a number of assumptions that go into calculating tree size and growth for multiple species and estimating carbon sequestration and energy savings. Registering to use ecoSmart Landscapes gives a user access to the calculations and the assumptions used in the process under the ‘references’ tab. The current beta release of the tool includes all California climate zones: data for the remainder of the U.S are due out in 2013. The tool can be used with a PC only on Chrome, Firefox, or IE9 or greater.
Accessing the tool and additional information.
Registration is required to use the tool, but EcoSmart Landscapes Public is free of charge. Access the Portal at http://www.ecosmartlandscapes.org/.