If you’re outside on a hot day, the first thing you do is look for a shady tree. The air temperature under a tree can be up to 25 degrees less than the unshaded area around it, in part because of “evapotranspiration” – the process by which plants release water vapor.

House shaded by trees

So a strategically planted tree not only adds beauty to your surroundings, it can eventually provide shade that can keep your house cool and lower your utility bills – especially in southern states, where, in summer, up to forty percent of electricity is used for air conditioning.

And cutting back on cooling will in turn reduce the global-warming carbon pollution that comes from power plants.

But unlike appliances, trees don’t come with energy efficiency ratings, so Joe Maher of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center is trying to quantify the energy savings they can provide.

Maher: “I think understanding the energy efficiency aspect of it can be an important part in making informed decisions both for governments and for individual households.”

Shade trees help save energy, lower utility bills. Click To Tweet

Maher’s research indicates that depending upon the amount of shade, trees can reduce household energy consumption by between five and fifteen percent – so you can think of that green, leafy oak in your yard as mother nature’s air conditioner.

Reporting credit: Leah Menzer/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
How to Plant Trees to Conserve Energy for Summer Shade
Planting Trees For Energy Conservation: The Right Tree in the Right Place
Landscaping for Shade

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