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Trees Provide More Than Shade

The National Tree Benefits Calculator, developed by The Davey Tree Expert Company and Casey Trees, helps people put a value on their trees. The tool was highlighted in an article in The Vancouver Sun, where Ohio State University's Jim Chatfield shared tree benefits, specifically how trees contribute to energy conservation.

Read the story below or see it in the The Vancouver Sun.


Trees provide a lot more than shade

By Jim Chatfield, Akron Beacon Journal


NorthernPinOak1_potential for i-tree story tree and house1
What do trees have to do with energy? Trees and other plants are energy.


They are the ultimate collectors of solar energy, using the energy of the sun to produce food through photosynthesis. Plants jump-start the entire food chain with this energy, synthesizing carbon-based food by taking carbon dioxide and water and that energy from the sun and producing carbohydrates for their own metabolism. In turn, this food feeds animals such as us, or animals that eat animals that ultimately ate plants.

Second, trees are leafy friends that pay us back by conserving energy in our homes.

For example, according to treebenefits.com, a 30-inch (76 cm) diameter pin oak in my yard provides $371 in annual benefits in terms of stormwater remediation, air quality benefits, carbon sequestration, enhanced property value and energy savings. According to estimates of the Tree Benefit Calculator and the i-Tree suite of software (itreetools.org), those energy benefits for this one tree include estimated savings of 362 kilowatt-hours of electricity and reduced consumption of oil or natural gas by 49 therms. The estimated value of the benefits from this one tree is $75 a year.

How so? According to treebenefits. com, trees modify climate and conserve building energy use in three principal ways:

- Shading reduces the amount of heat absorbed and stored by buildings.

- Evapotranspiration converts water to vapour and cools the air by using solar energy that would otherwise result in heating the air.

- Tree canopies slow down winds, thereby reducing the amount of heat lost from a home, especially where conductivity is high (e.g., glass windows).

Strategically placed trees can increase home energy efficiency. In summer, trees shading east and west walls keep buildings cooler.

In winter, allowing the sun to strike the southern side of a building can warm interior spaces. If southern walls are shaded by dense evergreen trees, there may be a resultant increase in winter heating costs.

Check out The Tree Benefits Calculator. It was developed by The Davey Tree Expert Co. of Kent, Ohio, and the Casey Tree Foundation in Washington, D.C.

They developed this simple-to-use tool from research that is continually improving the models that are collectively known as the i-Tree suite of software.

The i-Tree software is a partnership of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Arbor Day Foundation, the International Society of Arboriculture and The Davey Tree Expert Co.

Enjoy your trees. Recognize their solar power and recognize how they pay us back with energy savings and other environmental benefits.

Trees and other plants also remind us of the energy of youth, of a call for constant growth that we should take to heart.

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