Trees have so many benefits like providing fresh air, beautiful décor, and nice shade. Did
you know that trees can actually save you money? Trees cut down the money spent on air
conditioning and heating buildings. Trees provide shade in hot weather, which reduces the need
for air conditioning and they provide a wind barrier in cold weather, which reduces the need for
heating. Trees that are properly placed around homes can reduce air conditioning needs by 30
percent. Trees can save 20% to 50% percent in heating costs as well, according to the US
Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Deciduous trees, which lose their leaves part of the year, are ideal for climates like North
Carolina which is very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. They provide shade in the
summer when they are full of leaves. In the winter, deciduous trees allow the sunlight to reach
buildings and heat the interior. The trees also serve as wind barriers during the cold winter months,
which helps keep buildings warm. Trees that are placed strategically around homes could save
homeowners somewhere between $100 and $250 a year, according to the US Department of
Energy. The savings impact is especially significant for electricity utilities because air
conditioning needs are reduced during the hot summer months when energy demand is at its
highest and electricity prices are the most expensive. Reduced household electricity needs mean
reduced power production from utility plants and reduced fossil fuel burning.
Besides their shading properties, trees evaporate water back into the atmosphere through
the transpiration process. The evaporation of one large tree is able to produce the same cooling
effect as ten room-sized air conditioners that were operating all day. Plants are capable of
reflecting a lot of sunlight. Trees are especially capable of reflecting the sunlight in the infra-red
portion of the solar spectrum, which is where most intense heat comes from.
If cooling down our homes and cities wasn’t enough, trees are cooling down the whole
Earth! A recent study conducted by the Lawrence Berkley National Lab suggests that trees not
only cool the immediate area around them through evaporation, shading, and reflecting light, but
they create clouds too. The water that evaporates off of tree leaves forms low-level clouds.
These low-level clouds are capable of reflecting the sun, and thus, they cool down the whole
Earth’s surface. Pretty neat!