Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study* of California homes by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The first large-scale study of its kind, the research paper considers the effects of shade on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento during the summer of 2007 and provides hard statistics showing how well-placed shade trees can reduce energy costs and atmospheric carbon, as well.
People have known for a long time that trees have multiple benefits for people, but weve quantified one of them for the first time using actual billing data and put a dollar value on it, said NISTs David Butry, who authored the paper with Geoffrey Donovan of the USDA Forest Services Pacific Northwest Research Station.
The studys findings included:
This last finding was particularly significant to Butry, who said that trees not only reduce the carbon produced by the local gas or coal-fired power generator, but also remove carbon dioxidea greenhouse gasfrom the atmosphere.
Trees sequester carbon in addition to providing shade, Butry said. We measured how much these shade trees reduced the carbon created by burning fuels to produce the electricity, and found that the trees also sequestered an equivalent amount of carbon on
|Contact: Chad Boutin|
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)