The Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees and Community Canopy programs are designed to help utility companies, municipalities, and corporate organizations distribute trees to their communities. The core purpose is to lower energy bills, improve air quality, sequester carbon, and manage stormwater runoff.
Central to the program is an interactive online tool that was created through a Foundation partnership by The Davey Institute, a division of The Davey Tree Expert Co. The tool uses peer- reviewed scientific research from the U.S. Forest Service’s i-Tree software to calculate estimated energy savings over time. People use the online tool to personally plot their yard as seen from satellite imagery to select the right tree — provided by their utility provider, municipality, or other organization — and the right place for planting that will yield the greatest energy and cost savings.
Once reserved, these trees are either delivered to homes or available for pickup at events organized by the Energy-Saving Trees or Community Canopy partner.
This year, working with 55 partners in 35 states across the country, more than 50,000 trees were distributed through these programs. And 364,261 trees have been distributed and planted through the Energy-Saving Trees and Community Canopy programs since 2011.
For example, in its fifth year of partnership, the City of Orlando is involved in the Energy-Saving Trees program as a means of furthering the community’s Green Works Orlando sustainability initiative. The city collaborates with the local utility company each spring and fall to distribute more than 1,000 trees to residents to be planted in their yards for optimal energy savings. Since the spring of 2015, a total of 11,920 trees have been planted throughout the city. Collectively, these trees are projected to save 18,610,911 kWh and provide $4.9 million in environmental benefits over 20 years.
Universally, these programs are providing tremendous benefits — not only in terms of trees planted but also in energy bill savings and education.