Los Angeles intends to plant one million trees, and expects to recoup $2.80 in energy savings, pollution reduction, storm-water management and increased property values for every dollar spent. A study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that ten million trees in Los Angles, along with universal light-colored roofs and pavement, could lower peak summertime temperatures by five degrees.

Sacramento Municipal Utility District is providing up to 10 free trees per property (obviously, Sacramento lot sizes are larger than in Berkeley). They also supply expertise on tree planting and growing.

Though the effect is less dramatic in humid areas, Iowa has pushed private utilities to plant trees over the last 15 years.

There isn’t universal praise for the program. Some engineers are not used to thinking of trees as technology, and one third of residents in Sacramento see trees as work.

Let’s hope more utilities adopt such a program. The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from air conditioning from city trees is more important than the carbon the trees absorb directly.

Find out more in the Washington Post article, Shade Crusade Takes Root.

One Response to “Trees”

  1. Mary Ann Baclawski says:

    I love trees and for many reasons planting more is a good idea. But I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a minute. They can cause problems. Right now, my city is planning on replacing many sidewalks because roots (belonging to trees that officially belong to the city) have wreaked havoc with them. The city is expecting the homeowners’ to pay the expensive costs. Obviously, this is going to be a hardship for many people.
    In addition, one must choose the correct tree for particular environment. I remember reading about one tree. alianthus altissima (the tree of “A tree grows in Brookly”), that has an obnoxious smell. It also inhibits the growth of other plants. But, because it has many desirable qualities in a city environment, tolerant of pollution, grows opportunistically, etc., NYC planted many before it realized how much it would bother people.
    My point is that there are many important reasons to grow trees, but, as with most things, care must be taken to make the right decisions.