Energy Conservation through Trees Act

Washington, DC (April 22, 2008)- Today, Earth Day, the Alliance for Community Trees celebrates the Energy Conservation through Trees Act being introduced by Rep. Matsui. ACT staff and board members worked closely with the Congresswoman to develop the proposed federal program, which would encourage utility companies to partner with local nonprofit tree planting organizations to plant trees to reduce residential energy demand. The purpose of the legislation is to help homeowners lower their electric bills (and help utilities lower their peak load demand) by reducing residential energy demand caused by the need to run air conditioners and heaters at a high level. Shade trees not only help mitigate the urban heat island effect, but also help to shield homes from sun in the summer and cold winds in the winter.

Bill Status:
April 22, 2008- Introduced by Rep. Matsui.
April 22, 2008- Referred to House Energy Committee.
The legislation requires the use of science-based tree-siting guidelines to ensure that trees are not planted in locations that will disrupt pre-existing infrastructure, block solar panels and wind turbines, or damage power lines. Consultation during the development of these guidelines would be provided by local Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) that are composed of local energy and arboricultural experts.
The legislation requires utilities that receive assistance to partner with nonprofit tree-planting organizations or other municipal infrastructure groups to run the technical side of the program. These nonprofit groups are meant to serve as tree-planting experts to complement utilities’ financial interest in lowering peak energy demand and reducing consumption. They will provide technical and outreach assistance, work with tree recipients, and ensure that trees are planted in the right place to maximize energy conservation.
Cost Sharing:
The bill contains a requirement that all Federal funds be matched at least one-to-one with non-Federal dollars.
Congresswoman’s Matsui’s legislation is officially supported by the following organizations:
Alliance for Community Trees, National Arbor Day Foundation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, American Forests, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, International Society of Arboriculture, American Public Works Association, California Urban Forests Council, Urban Ecology Institute, California ReLeaf, American Society of Landscape Architects, and many others.
Related Resources:
H.R.5867- Energy Conservation through Trees Act
Energy Conservation through Trees Act Summary
Energy Conservation through Trees Act Introductory Statement
Energy Conservation through Trees Act Dear Colleague Letter
Energy Bill Would Support Urban Trees
Rep. Doris O. Matsui
American Public Power Association Supporting Resolution
US Conference of Mayors Supporting Resolution