USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

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Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
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Publications and Products

Title: Energy conservation potential of urban tree planting

Authors: McPherson, E.G.; Rowntree, R.A.

Date: 1993

Source Journal of Arboriculture. 19: 321-331

Abstract: Findings from monitoring and computer simulation studies indicate that trees can be a cost-effective energy conservation measure for some electric utilities. Our simulations suggest that a single 25-ft tall tree can reduce annual heating and cooling costs of a typical residence by 8 to 12 percent ($10-25). Assuming annual savings of $1 0 per household, a nationwide residential tree planting program could eventually save about $1 billion each year. A study of the potential for energy-conserving shade tree plantings within residential sections of San Diego found that over 40 percent of all houses surveyed had space available for a tree opposite their west wall. The 30-year net present value of proposed shade tree plantings for demand side management in Fresno was projected to be $22.3 million, with an overall benefit-cost ratio of 19. The largest benefits were attributed to property value enhancement, energy savings, avoided stormwater runoff, and atmospheric carbon removal, while greatest projected costs were from pruning, planting, and program administration.


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    McPherson, E.G.; Rowntree, R.A. 1993. Energy conservation potential of urban tree planting. Journal of Arboriculture. 19: 321-331.
Last Modified: December 16, 2020