Posted by Nathaniel Hardy on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 @ 4:50 AM
Urban trees – is there nothing they can’t do? As well as cleaning the air and guarding against soil erosion, they also help cities reduce costs and emissions by providing shade and blocking strong winds against buildings.
A new study from a group of USDA Forest Service scientists published in ‘Urban Forestry and Urban Greenery’ estimates the US supply of urban trees saves close to $7.8 billion in reduced energy costs (electricity and heating) each year. They also result in a cut to emissions valued at $3.9 billion annually.
The researchers wrote, “There is much literature on tree effects on building energy use, but limited estimates at the national scale. There have been national estimates of energy savings from proposed plantings of millions of trees … but none could be found estimating the effects of the current urban forest.”
The big takeaway is not just to plant more urban trees, but to plant them strategically.
According to the study, “Tree size, species (evergreen vs. deciduous), and tree distance and direction from the building all affect building energy use. While results vary by climate zone, in general, large trees to the west side of the building provide the greatest average reduction in cooling energy savings and large trees to the south side tend to lead to the greatest increase in winter energy use.”
Discover more about innovative urban tree solutions here.