USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Urban Ecosystems and Social Dynamics

Urban Ecosystems and Processes

 Picture of Street with Trees

Computer simulations of annual cooling savings for an energy efficient home in the Southwest show that a typical household spends about $250 each year for air conditioning. Shade from two 25-foot tall trees on the west and one on the east saves $57 a year, or 23%. Reduced energy use results in lower utility bills, less consumption of non-renewable resources, and fewer emissions released into the atmosphere.

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Diagram: More trees = less Power Plants

California Energy Study
A recent study of ours found that planting shade trees could reduce the need for power plants. 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. "Shade tree programs can be a very cost effective measure for conserving energy, especially peak load demand," says Dr. Greg McPherson. "Strategically locating trees to shade west walls and windows in climate regions where the benefits are highest will save energy dollars and postpone, if not eliminate, the need for some power plants."

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Last Modified: May 16, 2011 07:57:26 PM