Washington, DC (June 3, 2011)- The Alliance for Community Trees strongly supports the Energy Conservation Through Trees Act introduced yesterday by Rep. Doris Matsui. This legislation, H.R. 2095, would support programs run by electric utilities that use targeted planting of shade trees in order to reduce residential energy demand. ACTrees staff and board members worked closely with the Congresswoman to develop the Act, which would encourage utility companies to partner with local nonprofit tree organizations to plant shade trees.
“Alliance for Community Trees resoundingly supports this legislation and Congresswoman Matsui’s vision and leadership,” said Carrie Gallagher, Executive Director of Alliance for Community Trees. “We know people care about trees and about their pocketbooks. This legislation recognizes that trees not only beautify homes and our neighborhoods and improve individual property values, but they also save real, everyday dollars for homeowners and businesses by providing heat-beating, energy-saving shade. Trees are an integral part of creative green solutions to our country’s energy demands.”
The purpose of this 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 high levels. Shade trees help to shield homes from sun in the summer and cold winds in the winter, in addition to lowering ambient air temperatures and reducing the urban heat island effect.
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.
The bill contains a requirement that all Federal funds be matched at least one-to-one with non-Federal dollars.
Congresswoman Matsui’s legislation is officially supported by the following organizations:
Alliance for Community Trees; American Public Power Association; American Public Works Association; American Society of Landscape Architects; California ReLeaf; California Urban Forests Council; International Society of Arboriculture; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District; Sacramento Tree Foundation, and the Utility Arborist Association.
H.R.2095- Energy Conservation Through Trees Act
Energy Conservation through Trees Act Summary
Congresswoman Matsui Introduces Energy Conservation Through Trees Act
Fact Sheet- Shade Trees Conserve Energy
Rep. Doris O. Matsui
The Value of Shade: Energy and Climate Impacts