Washington, DC (April 26, 2013) – In honor of National Arbor Day, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-6) and co-sponsors Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) introduced The Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act. The legislation aims at reducing residential energy consumption and costs through strategically planting shade trees nationwide.
The TREES Act would establish a grant program to assist utilities to develop and operate energy conservation programs that encourage residential tree planting and provide incentives for utilities to partner with nonprofit organizations. In partnership with local non-profit tree planting groups, strategic and properly planted trees will reduce electrical demand, lower electric bills, protect water quality and public health.
“As we continue to tackle the combined challenges of high energy costs and the effects of climate change, it is essential that we put in place innovative policies and forward-thinking programs that will help prepare us for generations to come,” said Congresswoman Matsui (D-CA). “The Residential Energy and Economic Savings Act, or TREES Act, would help reduce energy costs for consumers and improve air quality for all Americans. My home district of Sacramento, California has implemented a successful shade tree program and I believe replicating this program on a national level will help ensure that we are working towards a cleaner, healthier future.”
“For over two decades our utility/nonprofit shade tree program has produced proven summer energy savings and over 150,000 conservation minded tree recipients,” said Ray Trethaway with the Sacramento Tree Foundation. “Expanding this program to the national level would allow Americans across the country to benefit from the immense energy savings.”
Planting shade trees around homes in a strategic manner is a proven way to lower energy demand in residential areas. According to research conducted by the Department of Energy, three shade trees strategically planted around a house can reduce home air-conditioning bills by about 30% in some cities, and a nationwide shade program could reduce air-conditioning use by at least 10%. Shade trees also help to:
- Improve public health and air quality by absorbing particulate matter;
- Store carbon dioxide to help slow global warming;
- Reduce the risk of flooding in urban areas by absorbing stormwater runoff;
- Improve private property values and increase residential aesthetics; and,
- Preserve public infrastructure, such as streets and sidewalks.
“This is a simple plan to achieve energy savings by planting trees and creating more shade,” Congresswoman Matsui added. “The TREES Act would reduce families’ energy bills and increase energy efficiency in their homes. When communities see extraordinary results from small changes to their environment, planting trees just makes sense.”
Source: Congresswoman Doris Matsui News Release: “Congresswoman Matsui Celebrates Arbor Day by Introducing The Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act”