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Shade trees reduce building energy use and CO2 emissions from power plants


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Urban shade trees offer significant benefits in reducing building air-conditioning demand and improving urban air quality by reducing smog. The savings associated with these benefits vary by climate region and can be up to $200 per tree. The cost of planting trees and maintaining them can vary from $10 to $500 per tree. Tree-planting programs can be designed to have lower costs so that they offer potential savings to communities that plant trees. Our calculations suggest that urban trees play a major role in sequestering CO2 and thereby delay global warming. We estimate that a tree planted in Los Angeles avoids the combustion of 18 kg of carbon annually, even though it sequesters only 4.5-11 kg (as it would if growing in a forest). In this sense, one shade tree in Los Angeles is equivalent to three to five forest trees. In a recent analysis for Baton Rouge, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City, we estimated that planting an average of four shade trees per house (each with a top view cross section of 50 m2) would lead to an annual reduction in carbon emissions from power plants of 16,000, 41,000, and 9000 t, respectively (the per-tree reduction in carbon emissions is about 10-11 kg per year). These reductions only account for the direct reduction in the net cooling- and heating-energy use of buildings. Once the impact of the community cooling is included, these savings are increased by at least 25%.
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Shade trees reduce building energy use and CO
emissions from
power plants
H. Akbari*
Heat Island Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkley, CA 94720, USA
‘‘Capsule’’: Urban tree planting can account for a 25% reduction in net cooling and heating energy usage in urban landscapes.
Urban shade trees offer significant benefits in reducing building air-conditioning demand and improving urban air quality by
reducing smog. The savings associated with these benefits vary by climate region and can be up to $200 per tree. The cost of
planting trees and maintaining them can vary from $10 to $500 per tree. Tree-planting programs can be designed to have lower
costs so that they offer potential savings to communities that plant trees. Our calculations suggest that urban trees play a major role
in sequestering CO
and thereby delay global warming. We estimate that a tree planted in Los Angeles avoids the combustion of 18
kg of carbon annually, even though it sequesters only 4.5–11 kg (as it would if growing in a forest). In this sense, one shade tree in
Los Angeles is equivalent to three to five forest trees. In a recent analysis for Baton Rouge, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City, we
estimated that planting an average of four shade trees per house (each with a top view cross section of 50 m
) would lead to an
annual reduction in carbon emissions from power plants of 16,000, 41,000, and 9000 t, respectively (the per-tree reduction in carbon
emissions is about 10–11 kg per year). These reductions only account for the direct reduction in the net cooling- and heating-energy
use of buildings. Once the impact of the community cooling is included, these savings are increased by at least 25%. #2001
Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Shade trees; Heating and cooling energy use; Carbon sequestration; Smog; Cost-benefit analysis; Heat islands
1. Introduction
World energy use is the main contributor to atmos-
pheric CO
. In 1997, about 6.4 Giga metric ton of car-
bon (GtC) were emitted internationally by combustion
of gas, liquid, and solid fuels (CDIAC, 2001), 2–5 times
the amount contributed by deforestation (Brown et al.,
1988). The share of atmospheric carbon emissions for
the United States from fossil fuel combustion was 1.46
GtC. Increasing use of fossil fuel and deforestation
together have raised atmospheric CO
some 25% over the last 150 years. According to global
climate models and preliminary measurements, these
changes in the composition of the atmosphere have
already begun raising the earth’s average temperature.
If current energy trends continue, these changes could
drastically alter the earth’s temperature, with unknown
but potentially catastrophic physical and political con-
sequences. Since the first OPEC embargo in 1973 and
the oil price shocks in 1979, increased energy awareness
have led to conservation efforts and leveling of energy
consumption in the industrialized countries. An impor-
tant byproduct of this reduced energy use is a lowering
of CO
In the United States, of all electricity generated, about
one-sixth [400 tera-watt-hours (TWh), equivalent to
about 80 million metric tons of carbon (MtC) emissions,
and translating to about $40 billion (B) per year] is used
to air-condition buildings. Of this $40 B/year, about
half is used in cities classified as ‘‘heat islands’’ where
the air-conditioning demand has risen 10% within the
last 40 years. Metropolitan areas in the United States
(e.g. Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, New
York City) typically have pronounced heat islands that
warrant special attention by anyone concerned with
broad-scale energy efficiency (HIG, 2001).
Strategies that increase urban vegetation and the
reflectance of roofs and paved surfaces not only assure
cost savings to individual homeowners and commercial
consumers, but also reduce energy consumption city-
wide. These strategies also serve to reduce smog,
important in those cities such as Houston, Los Angeles,
0269-7491/01/$ - see front matter #2001 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
PII: S0269-7491(01)00264-0
Environmental Pollution 116 (2002) S119–S126
* Tel.: +1-510-486-4287; fax: +1-510-486-4673.
E-mail address: (H. Akbari).
and Atlanta where air pollution is a significant health
Trees affect the urban ecosystem in many different
ways. McPherson et al. (1994) provide a good review of
the impact of an urban forest in the city of Chicago. In
this paper, we briefly review the benefits and costs
associated with a large-scale urban tree-planting pro-
gram. We specifically focus on discussing the benefits of
such a program as they relate to shading of buildings
and streets, evaporative cooling of ambient air, shield-
ing buildings and inhabitants from cold winter and hot
summer winds, the collective impact of tree shading,
evaporative cooling, and wind shielding on building
heating- and cooling-energy use, the impact of ambient
cooling on smog reduction, and removal of PM10 (par-
ticulate matter less than 10 micron) pollutants and dry
deposition. We also briefly discuss the potential cost
associated with a large-scale tree-planting program.
2. Benefits associated with trees
2.1. Urban trees: an energy conservation strategy
In addition to their aesthetic value, urban trees can
modify the climate of a city and improve urban thermal
comfort in hot climates. Individually, urban trees also
act as shading and wind-shielding elements modifying
the ambient conditions around individual buildings.
Considered collectively, a significant increase in the
number of urban trees can moderate the intensity of
the urban heat island by altering the heat balance of the
entire city (Fig. 1).
Trees affect energy use in buildings through both
direct and indirect processes. The direct effects are: (1)
reducing solar heat gain through windows, walls, and
roofs by shading, and (2) reducing the radiant heat gain
from the surroundings by shading. The indirect effects
are: (3) reducing the outside air infiltration rate by low-
ering ambient wind speeds, (4) reducing the heat gain
into the buildings by lowering ambient temperatures
through evapotranspiration in summer, and (5) in some
cases, increasing the latent air-conditioning load by
adding moisture to the air through evapotranspiration
(Huang et al., 1987).
2.1.1. Shading
When properly placed and scaled around a building,
during the summer, trees can block unwanted solar
radiation from striking the building and reduce its
cooling-energy use. Shading of buildings can potentially
increase the heating-energy use during the winter.
Deciduous trees are particularly beneficial since they
allow solar gain in buildings during the winter while
blocking it during the summer. The shade cast by trees
also reduces glare and blocks the diffuse light reflected
from the sky and surrounding surfaces, thereby altering
the heat exchange between the building and its sur-
roundings. During the day, tree shading also reduces
heat gain in buildings by reducing the surface tempera-
tures of the surroundings. At night, trees block the heat
flow from the building to the cooler sky and surround-
2.1.2. Wind shielding (shelterbelts)
Trees act as windbreaks that lower the ambient wind
speed, which may lower or raise a building’s cooling-
energy use depending on its physical characteristics. In
certain climates, tree shelterbelts are used to block hot
and dust-laden winds. In addition to energy-saving
potentials, this will improve comfort conditions out-
doors within the city. Through wind shielding, trees
affect a building’s energy balance in three ways:
1. Lower wind speed on a building shell slows the
dissipation of heat from sunlit surfaces. This in
turn produces higher sunlit surface temperatures
and more heat gain through the building shell.
This detrimental phenomenon (during the sum-
mer) is significant only for uninsulated buildings.
2. Lower wind speed results in lower air infiltration
into buildings. The reduction in infiltration has a
major impact on reducing cooling-energy require-
ments for old and leaky houses.
3. Lower wind speed reduces the effectiveness of
open windows during the summer, resulting in
increased reliance on mechanical cooling.
2.1.3. Evaporative cooling
The term evapotranspiration refers to the evaporation
of water from vegetation and surrounding soils. On hot
summer days, a tree can act as a natural ‘‘evaporative
cooler’’ using up to 100 gallons of water a day and thus
lowering the ambient temperature (Kramer and
Kozlowski, 1960). The effect of evapotranspiration is
Fig. 1. Methodology: energy and air-quality analysis.
S120 H. Akbari / Environmental Pollution 116 (2002) S119–S126
minimal in winter because of the absence of leaves on
deciduous trees and the lower ambient temperatures.
Increased evapotranspiration during the summer
from a significant increase in urban trees can produce
an ‘‘oasis effect’’ in which the urban ambient tempera-
tures are significantly lowered. Buildings in such cooler
environments will consume less cooling power and
energy, although in some cases the amount of latent
cooling, i.e. humidity removal, might be slightly
2.2. Estimates of energy savings
Case studies (Laechelt and Williams, 1976; Buffing-
ton, 1979; Parker, 1981; Akbari et al., 1997) have docu-
mented dramatic differences in cooling-energy use
between houses on landscaped and unlandscaped sites.
Akbari et al. (1997) conducted a ‘‘flip-flop’’ experiment
to measure the impact of shade trees on two houses in
Sacramento. The experiment was carried out in three
periods: (1) monitoring the cooling-energy use of both
houses to establish a base case relationship between the
energy use of the houses, (2) installing eight large and
eight small shade trees at one of the sites for a period of
4 weeks, and then (3) moving the trees from one site to
the other. The experiment documented seasonal cooling-
energy savings of about 30% (about 4 kilowatt-hour per
day, kWh/day). The estimated peak electricity saving
was about 0.7 kW. In Florida, Parker (1981) measured
the cooling-energy savings from well-planned land-
scaping and found that properly located trees and
shrubs around a mobile trailer reduced the daily air-
conditioning electricity use by as much as 50%.
The evapotranspiration and wind-shielding impacts of
trees have been most commonly quantified through
computer simulations. In a recent study, we investigated
the energy-saving potential of urban trees in three US
cities: Baton Rouge LA, Sacramento CA, and Salt Lake
City UT (Konopacki and Akbari, 2000). The analysis
included both direct (shading) and indirect (evapo-
transpiration) effects. Three building types were con-
sidered that account for over 90% of saving potentials:
houses, offices, and retail stores. We collected data on
building characteristics and stocks for each building
type and developed prototypical building descriptions.
These buildings were then simulated with the DOE-2
building-energy simulation program (BESG, 1990). We
considered several scenarios by strategically placing
trees around the building (for maximum impacts) and
the direct energy-savings potentials were calculated. To
estimate the impact of evapotranspiration of trees on
building energy use (indirect effect), a three-dimensional
meteorological model was used to simulate the potential
impact of trees on ambient cooling for each region. The
simulations were performed using grids of 55 km.
Changes in the ambient temperatures were modeled in
the DOE-2 program to estimate the indirect cooling
effects of trees in reducing air-conditioning energy use.
For all three cities, we simulated both cooling-energy
savings and potential heating-energy penalties. The
study considered planting an average of four shade trees
per house, each with a top view cross section of 50 m
and estimated net annual dollar savings in energy
expenditure of $6.3 M, $12.8 M, and $1.5 M for Baton
Rouge, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City, respectively.
The savings in energy consumption were translated into
reduced CO
emissions using the US average emission
of 200 gC per kWh of generated electricity. The esti-
mated annual reduction in carbon emissions is 19 kilo-
tons Carbon (ktC), 60 ktC, and 13 ktC for Baton
Rouge, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City, respectively
(Konopacki and Akbari, 2000).
In another study, Taha et al. (1996) analyzed the
impact of large-scale tree-planting programs in 10 US
metropolitan areas: Atlanta GA, Chicago IL, Dallas
TX, Houston TX, Los Angeles CA, Miami FL, New
York NY, Philadelphia PA, Phoenix AZ, and
Washington DC. Both direct and indirect effects on air-
conditioning energy use were addressed, using the DOE-
2 building simulation program for energy calculations
and a mesoscale simulation model for meteorological
calculations. The meteorological simulations showed
that trees could cool the city on the average by about
0.3–1 K at 1400 h; in some simulation cells the tem-
perature was decreased by up to 3 K (Table 1). The
energy analysis focused on residential and small com-
mercial (small office) buildings. (Table 2). For most hot
cities, total (direct and indirect) annual energy savings
to be $10–$35 per 100 m
of roof area of residential and
commercial buildings.
Heisler (1990a) has measured the impact of trees in
reducing ambient wind. Akbari and Taha (1992) used
Heisler’s data and analyzed the impact of wind reduc-
tion on heating- and cooling-energy use of typical
houses in cold climates. Simulations indicated that in
cold climates, a 30% uniform increase in urban tree
cover can reduce winter heating bills in urban areas by
about 10% and in rural areas by 20%. In a follow-on
undocumented work, we estimated that the savings in
urban areas can almost be doubled if evergreen trees are
planted strategically on the north side of buildings so
that the buildings can be better protected from the cold
north winter wind.
Heisler (1986, 1990b) has investigated the impact of
tree location around a house on heating- and cooling-
energy use. Trees planted on the east and west sides of
the building shade the walls and windows from sunlight
in the morning and afternoon. Depending on wall con-
struction, the impact of morning heating may be seen
in the late morning and early afternoon hours. Simi-
larly, the impact of afternoon heating of the west walls
may be seen in evening hours. Akbari et al. (1993)
H. Akbari / Environmental Pollution 116 (2002) S119–S126 S121
performed parametric simulations on the impact of tree
locations on heating- and cooling-energy use and found
that savings can vary from 2% to over 7%; cooling-
energy savings were higher for trees shading the west
walls and windows.
2.3. Urban trees: an air-pollution reduction strategy
Urban trees affect air pollution through two major
processes: (1) cooling of the ambient temperature and
hence slowing the smog formation process, and (2) dry
deposition by which the airborne pollutants (both gas-
eous and particles) can be removed from the air. Trees
directly remove pollutant gases (CO, NO
, and SO
predominantly through leaf stomata (Smith, 1984;
Fowler, 1985). Nowak (1994a) performed an analysis of
pollutant removal by the urban forest in Chicago and
concluded that through dry deposition trees on the
average remove about 0.002% (0.34 g/m
/year) of CO,
0.8% (1.24 g/m
/year) of NO
, 0.3% (1.09 g/m
/year) of
, 0.3% (3.07 g/m
/year) of O
, and 0.4% (2.83 g/m
year) PM10 pollutants from air. Trees can also con-
tribute to smog problems by emitting volatile organic
compounds (VOCs). The photochemical reaction of
VOCs and NOx produces smog (O
Simulations performed by Taha et al. (1997) for Los
Angeles indicated that, on a daily basis, 1% of the mass
of ozone in the mixed layer is scavenged by planting an
additional 11 M trees (dry-deposited). In addition to
this amount of ozone being scavenged directly from the
atmosphere, there is 0.6% less ozone formation in the
mixed layer due to the fact that vegetation also scav-
enges NO
, an ozone precursor. The total effect of
increased deposition by the additional vegetation is
thus to decrease atmospheric ozone in the mixed layer
by 1.6%.
In a more recent study, Taha et al. (2000) analyzed
the impact of urban vegetation (and other heat-island
reduction technologies: reflective roofs and pavements)
on ozone air quality for Baton Rouge, Salt Lake City,
and Sacramento. The meteorological simulations indi-
cated a reduction in daytime ambient temperature on
the order of 1–2 K. In Baton Rouge, the simulated
reduction of 0.8 K in the afternoon ambient tempera-
ture leads to a 4–5 ppb (part per billion) reduction in
ozone concentration. For Salt Lake City, the afternoon
Table 1
Number of additional trees planted in each metropolitan area and their simulated effects in reducing the ambient temperature
Location No. of additional
trees in the
simulation domain (M)
No. of additional
trees in the
metropolitan area (M)
Max air temperature
reduction in the hottest
simulation cell (K)
Atlanta 3.0 1.5 1.7
Chicago 12 5.0 1.4
Los Angeles 11 5.0 3.0
Fort Worth 5.6 2.8 1.6
Houston 5.7 2.7 1.4
Miami 3.3 1.3 1.0
New York City 20 4.0 2.0
Philadelphia 18 3.8 1.8
Phoenix 2.8 1.4 1.4
Washington, DC 11 3.0 1.9
Note that the simulated area is much larger than the metropolitan area.
Table 2
DOE-2 simulated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) annual energy savings from trees
Location Old residence New residence Old office New office
Direct Indirect Direct Indirect Direct Indirect Direct Indirect
Atlanta 5 2 3 1 3 2 2 2
Chicago 3 2 1 0.5 1 1 2 1
Los Angeles 12 8 7 5 6 12 4 10
Fort Worth 6 6 5 4 4 5 2 4
Houston 10 6 6 4 3 5 3 3
Miami 9 3 6 3 3 2 2 2
New York City 3 2 2 1 3 3 2 2
Philadelphia 50 70 2111
Phoenix 27 8 16 5 9 5 6 4
Washington, DC 3 2 1 1 3 1 2 1
Three trees per house and per small office are assumed. All savings are $/100m
S122 H. Akbari / Environmental Pollution 116 (2002) S119–S126
temperature and ozone reductions were 2 K and 3–4
ppb. And in Sacramento, the reductions were 1.2 K and
10 ppb (about 7% of the peak ozone concentration of
139 ppb). Note that the reported reductions in ambient
and ozone concentration are due to the combined effect
of urban vegetation and reflective roofs and pavements.
Preliminary simulations indicated that in dry climates
such as Sacramento and Salt Lake City, the contribu-
tion of urban vegetation and reflective surfaces to
ambient air temperature and ozone reduction is about
the same. In humid climates such as Baton Rouge,
adding to the urban vegetation is less effective than
increasing the reflectivity of surfaces in reducing ambi-
ent temperature and ozone.
Following Taha’s (1997) work, Rosenfeld et al. (1998)
studied potential energy savings and ancillary benefits
of trees in the Los Angeles Basin, taking into account
direct energy savings, indirect energy savings, and the
potential impact on air pollution, specifically smog (O
The study assumed that of 5 million (M) homes in the
Los Angeles Basin the coastal houses were not air con-
ditioned and that only about 1.8 M of the inland houses
were air conditioned. The strategy assumed planting 11
M trees according to the following plan: three shade
trees (one on the west and two on the south side of the
house, each with a canopy cross-section of 50 m
) per
air-conditioned house, for a total of 5.4 M trees; about
one shade tree for each 250 m
of non-residential roof
area for a total of 1 M trees; 4.6 M trees to shade non-
air-conditioned homes or to be planted along streets, in
parks, and in other public spaces.
The results of this analysis are shown in Table 3; trees
can potentially save about $270 M per year in Los
Angeles and can reduce peak power demand by 0.9
GW. Of the $270 M annual savings, about $58 M
represent direct energy savings, $35 M indirect energy
savings, and $180 M savings because of the reduction in
smog concentration. Savings in smog are the result of a
lower ambient temperature because of the evapo-
transpiration of trees. The annual cost of smog (i.e.
medical cost and time lost from work) was estimated at
$3 B. Simulations indicated that trees can reduce smog
exceedance over the California standard of 90 ppb by
6% and result in an estimated savings of about $180 M
per year ($3B6%). It is also suggested that trees
improve air quality by dry-depositing NO
, and
PM10. Rosenfeld et al. (1998) estimated that 11 M trees
in LA will reduce PM10 by less than 0.1% through dry
deposition, worth $7 M, which is much smaller than the
smog benefits of $180 M from smog reduction.
Rosenfeld et al. (1998) also calculated the present
value of the energy savings and smog reduction. The
present value (PV) of future savings of a tree is calcu-
lated using
PV ¼a11þdðÞ
where a, annual savings ($); d, real discount rate (3%);
n, life of the savings from tree, in years.
Rosenfeld et al. (1998) assumed the planting of small
shade trees that would take about 10–15 years to reach
maturity. Savings from trees before they reach maturity
were neglected and the present value of all future sav-
ings was calculated to be $7.5 for each $1 saved
annually. On this basis, the direct savings to the owner
who plants three shade trees will have a present value
of about $200 per home ($68/tree). The present value of
indirect savings is smaller, about $72/home ($24/tree).
The PV of smog savings is about $120/tree. Total PV of
all benefits from trees is then $210/tree.
Shade trees, by reducing peak power by 0.9 GW, save
about 0.5 g of NO
per kWh avoided from power plants
in the Basin. Simulations have found that 4 t of NO
day are avoided, only 1/3% of the base case.
3. Design of an urban tree program and costs
associated with trees
Two primary factors to be considered in designing a
large-scale urban tree program is the potential room
(space available) for planting trees, and the types of pro-
grams that utilize and employ the wide participation of
the population. We recently studied the fabric (fraction
of different land-uses) of Sacramento by statistically
analyzing high-resolution aerial color orthophotos of the
city, taken at 0.30-m resolution (Akbari et al., 1999;
Fig. 2). On average, tree cover comprises about 13% of
the entire Sacramento metropolitan area. If we assume
Table 3
Air conditioning (A/C) energy savings, ozone reduction, and avoided peak power from the addition of 11 million urban shade trees in the Los
Angeles Basin (Rosenfeld et al., 1998)
Benefits A/C energy savings Smog savings Total
Direct Indirect
1 Annual energy and smog savings (M$/year) 58 35 180 273
2 Peak power reduction (GW) 0.6 0.3 0.9
3 Present value per tree ($) 68 24 123 211
H. Akbari / Environmental Pollution 116 (2002) S119–S126 S123
that trees can be planted in areas to cover barren land
(8%) and grass (15%), tree cover in Sacramento would
increase to 36%. The design of a large-scale urban tree
program should take advantage of this type of data to
plan the program accurately for each neighborhood.
The cost of a citywide ‘‘tree-planting’’ program
depends on the type of program offered and the types of
trees recommended. At the low end, a promotional
planting of trees with a height of 1.5–3 m (5–10 feet)
costs about $10 per tree, whereas a professional tree-
planting program using fairly large trees could amount
to $150–$470 a tree (McPherson et al., 1994). McPher-
son has collected data on the cost of tree planting and
maintenance from several cities. The cost elements
include planting, pruning, removal of a dead tree, stump
removal, waste disposal, infrastructure repair, litigation
and liability, inspection, and program administration.
The data provide details of the cost for trees located in
parks, yards, streets, highway, and houses. The present
value of all these life-cycle costs (including planting) is
$300–$500 per tree. Over 90% of the cost is associated
with professional planting, pruning, tree and stump
removal. On the other hand, a tree-planting program
administered by the Sacramento Municipal Utility Dis-
trict (SMUD) and Sacramento Tree Foundation in
1992–1996 planted trees 6 m (20-feet) in height at an
average (low) cost of $45 per tree. This figure includes
only the cost of a tree and its planting; it does not
include pruning, removal of dead trees, and stump
removal. With this wide range of costs associated with
trees, in our opinion tree costs should be justified by
other amenities they provide beyond air-conditioning
and smog reduction. The low-cost programs are then
probably the information programs that provide data
on the energy and smog savings that trees offer to the
communities and homeowners who have decided to
plant trees for other reasons.
4. Carbon sequestration of urban shade trees
Data for the rate of carbon sequestration by urban
trees are scarce; most data are given in the units of tons
per year of carbon per hectare of forested land. How-
ever, Nowak (1994b) has performed an analysis of car-
bon sequestration by individual trees as a function of
tree diameter measured at breast height (dbh). He esti-
mates that an average tree with a dbh of 31–46 cm
(about 50 m
in crown area) sequesters carbon at a rate
of 19 kg/year. We also performed an analysis of the
rate of carbon sequestration for several species of trees
using data by Frelich (1992). Frelich provides data on
the age, the dbh, crown area, and height for 12 species
of trees around Twin Cities, MN. We used this data to
estimate the rate of carbon sequestration. First we
Fig. 2. Land use land cover (LULC) of Sacramento, CA.
Table 4
Annual carbon sequestration by individual trees. Each tree is assumed to have a crown area 50 m
Tree type Age dbh (cm) H (m) Average C
sequestered (kg/year)
C sequestrated at
Norway maple 30 33.0 10.1 3.2 9.9
Sugar maple 29 29.5 11.2 2.9 7.8
Hackberry 25 27.4 10.3 2.7 8.5
American and little-leaved linden 33 41.4 11.5 5.3 13.8
Black walnut 32 31.0 11.2 3.0 8.0
Green ash 26 30.2 11.7 3.6 10.8
Robusta and Siouxland hybrid 33 52.1 20.5 14.9 29.6
Kentucky coffee tree 40 31.0 9.9 2.1 3.6
Red maple 24 27.4 10.2 2.8 8.9
White pine 34 34.5 13.6 4.2 15.2
Blackhills (white) spruce 60 37.6 15.9 3.3 7.7
Blue spruce 60 49.3 18.9 6.7 12.8
Average 4.6 11.4
Average excluding Robusta/Siouxland 3.6 9.7
dbh, Diameter of tree at breast height; H, tree height (source: Frelich, 1992).
We define maturity when the tree has a crown area of 50 m
S124 H. Akbari / Environmental Pollution 116 (2002) S119–S126
estimated the volume of the wet biomass of the trunk by
assuming a cone with a base area with the given dia-
meter and height. Then we multiplied the trunk volume
by 1.5 to account for the volume of main branches and
roots. The weight of the biomass was estimated by
multiplying the volume by a density of 900 kg/m
. The
weight of the dry mass was estimated at 50% of the wet
mass and the amount of carbon was estimated to be
50% of the dry mass. The calculation yielded an average
of about 4.5 kg/year over the life of a tree until its crown
has grown to about 50 m
(Table 4). Data indicate
that as trees grow, the rate of sequestration increases.
The average sequestration rate for a 50-m
tree was
estimated at about 11 kg/year.
This calculation suggests that urban trees play a major
role in sequestering CO
and thereby delaying global
warming. Rosenfeld et al. (1998) estimated that a tree
planted in Los Angeles avoids the combustion of 18 kg of
carbon annually, and according to our calculations an
average shade tree sequesters about 4.5–11 kg/year (as it
would if growing in a forest). In that sense, one shade
tree in Los Angeles is equivalent to 3–5 forest trees.
5. Conclusion
We doubt that the direct savings noted in this paper
are enough, in themselves, to induce a building owner to
plant shade trees for energy-savings purposes. For LA,
annual benefits of $270 M are possible, after 15–20
years of planting trees. Trees can potentially reduce
energy consumption in a city and improve air quality and
comfort. These potential savings are clearly a function of
climate: in hot climates, deciduous trees shading a build-
ing can save cooling-energy use, in cold climates, ever-
green trees shielding the building from the cold winter
wind can save heating-energy use. Trees also improve
urban air quality by lowering the ambient temperature
and hence reducing the formation of urban smog, and by
dry deposition to absorb directly gaseous pollutants and
PM10 from the air. Trees also emit volatile organic
compounds that may contribute to air-quality problems;
low-emitting trees should be considered in designing a
program. Finally, a major cost of a tree-planting pro-
gram is that associated with planting and maintaining by
tree professionals. The cost of water consumption of
trees in most climates is small compared to planting and
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... On clear summer days, tree-dominated areas were 0.5-1 °C cooler than shrub-dominated areas during the day and at night [23]. In addition to improving residents' thermal comfort [24], urban trees can effectively reduce the usage of air conditioning and save energy [25]. ...
... On clear summer days, tree-dominated areas were 0.5-1 • C cooler than shrub-dominated areas during the day and at night [23]. In addition to improving residents' thermal comfort [24], urban trees can effectively reduce the usage of air conditioning and save energy [25]. ...
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Trees in cities are vital to the health of the urban ecosystem and residents’ wellbeing. Besides providing habitats, trees provide food via fruits and young leaves, reduce temperature, and enrich landscape aesthetics with spring flowers and autumn foliage. The generation and supply of these ecosystem services are closely related to their traits, such as the size of the canopy and the sparseness of the leaves, which directly affect their ability to shade and cool. Studies focusing on ecosystem services often consider green space as a whole, and some distinguish the difference between trees and grass. Relatively fewer studies examined the influence of tree traits on the supply of ecosystem services. Understanding the association among species, traits, and ecosystem services would be helpful in generating actionable knowledge for urban tree planting. However, these studies are often scattered under different research topics. To this end, we reviewed and summarized studies on the relationship between urban tree species/traits and ecosystem services according to provision, regulation, and cultural service types. Based on 45 publications, we found that leaf area, crown size, diameter at breast height, tree height, and leaf shape may influence various ecosystem services. We presented a preliminary framework of “trait- service” and argued that with the help of such a framework, future research should generate actionable knowledge for practitioners to identify potential tree species for selection according to desired services.
... This would reduce the emission rate from transport by four times. In addition, according to several authors (Akbari, 2002;Govindasamy, 2014;Jo et al., 2019;McPherson & Simpson, 1999;, tree planting can be seen as one of the ways of reducing carbon emissions since plants remove CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. Thus, planting trees would help redirect the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere In addition to CO2 emissions, (AFP, 2018) reported environmental pollution related to pilgrimage. ...
Recent studies stressed the importance of religion in addressing climate change and other environmental issues. However, little attention is paid to Islamic perception and challenges toward environmental sustainability. This study addresses a) Islamic prescriptions regarding environmental protection, b) Islamic involvement in environmental organizations worldwide and c) the assessment of the carbon impact of the Hajj. Our investigation shows a large range of Islamic prescriptions for the protection of the component of the environment such as water, air, soil, plants, and animals, making Islam a good defender of the environment. The strict implementation of these prescriptions would contribute to the mitigation of environmental issues that our planet is facing while insuring environmental sustainability. Muslims are as well actively working together with several Islamic environmental organisations around the world to protect our environment. The 2011-2019 Hajj season, for instance, has emitted an average of 5.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year for pilgrims' transport using cars, boat and airplane. A strong correlation (0.77) was observed between the number of pilgrims and carbon emissions. Moreover about 42,000 tons of waste are produced annually during the Hajj. Actions, such as tree planting and waste recycling, have to be taken to reduce the environmental impact of pilgrimage, so as to support the green Hajj movement and showing the world that Islam is the reference in terms of ecological religion for environmental sustainability.
... Por medios satelitales también es posible revelar los gradientes térmicos entre los EVU y sus inmediaciones, es decir, poner de manifiesto los servicios de regulación que brindan los EVU de forma que, al ponerlos en perspectiva en relación con los ahorros de energía que potencialmente traerían consigo, se descubran avenidas para la mejora de su gestión y se promueva la inversión en estos espacios (Akbari, 2002). Los anteriores constituyen tan solo algunos ejemplos de cómo, basándose en imágenes satelitales y combinando cierto conocimiento y experiencia en Sistemas de Información Geográfica (SIG), es posible abordar temáticas sociales que afecten a la población y al ambiente, mostrando que la temperatura en superficie se relaciona de manera inversa con el vigor vegetal, tomando como referencia una ciudad localizada en la zona árida del norte de México. ...
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... For instance, training the GCN model has a carbon footprint equivalent to three smartphone charges, whereas the GHG emissions of the Matformer training phase are comparable to driving an average passenger vehicle for 16.8 kilometers. On the other hand, the time taken by a mature tree to sequester the carbon dioxide equivalents [34] 2.1 months, whereas it would take 9.1 years for the presented hypothetical model in mid-2027. Another approach to assessing the GHG emissions of the models in question is to compare with those of some models from a different domain. ...
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Climate change, mainly originating from CO2 emissions, has adverse impacts on the social-economic development of Vietnam. Forestation is one of the solutions to reduce CO2 emissions. Thus, this paper investigates the possible impact of reforestation on CO2 emissions in Vietnam during 1990-2019. Data in the study is collected from the World Bank. The study uses a Vector Auto Regression model (VAR) to analyze the relationship between reforestation and CO2 emissions. The research results show that forest coverage has a negative impact on CO2 emissions in Vietnam. On the other hand, the results also suggest that there is a two-way relationship between urbanization and CO2 emissions in Vietnam. Based on the findings, the Vietnamese government can reduce CO2 emission by increasing forest coverage, harmonizing between urbanization and economic growth toward green development and forest protection. This study is significant to the solutions of tackling climate change by providing evidence of the effects of reforestation on CO2 emissions in Vietnam.
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Abstract Climate change is usually attributed to natural phenomena or in response to anthropogenic activities. Fossil fuel combustion and emission of greenhouse gases accelerate climate change and global warming. There are two main strategies to face climate fluctuations: adaptation and mitigation. Among living organisms, plants exert numerous mitigating effects especially in urban areas. Important climate-related functions of plants; and hence urban green space, include cooling effect, pollution reduction, increasing energy use efficiency, absorption of UV and high energy radiations, reducing surface runoffs, soil maintenance, reducing wind speed, chemical air pollution and fine particles. The efficiency of plant taxa is a function of their morphological and physiological functional traits. This research comprehensively reviews relationships between plant mitigating functions in urban environments, functional traits and climate related management perspective of cities. Plant functional traits such as leaf surface morphology, plant size and height, density and distributional pattern, canopy shape and branching pattern along with life form and physiological properties are of utmost importance in mitigation and adaptability of plants to climate perturbations. We strongly recommend considering future perspective under climate change scenario and substitution of urban plant species based on functional traits as one of the management priorities for urban areas especially Tehran metropolis environment. Keywords: Climate change, Urban environments, Plant functional traits, Mitigation, Adaptation
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This paper summarizes our efforts to calculate the potential annual energy savings, peak power avoidance and annual CO2 reduction from heat island reduction (HIR) measures (i.e., shade trees, reflective roofs, reflective pavements and urban vegetation) in three cities: Baton Rouge, Sacramento and Salt Lake City. We focused on three building types that offer most savings potential: single-family residence, office and retail store; and characterized each by old or new construction and with a gas furnace or electric heat pump. We simulated the impact of HIR measures on building cooling and heating energy use and peak power demand using the DOE-2.1E model. Our simulations included the impact of (1) strategically-placed shade trees near buildings, (2) use of high-albedo roofing material on building, (3) combined measures 1 and 2, (4) cooling of ambient air resulting from implementation of HIR measures, and (5) combined measures 1, 2 and 4. The results show that in Baton Rouge potential annual energy savings of $15M could be realized by rate-payers from the implementation of HIR measures, additionally, peak power avoidance is estimated at 133 MW and the reduction in annual carbon at 41 kt. In Sacramento the potential benefits are estimated at $26M, 486 MW and 92 kt, and in Salt Lake City, $4M, 85 MW and 20 kt.
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Urban fabric data are needed in order to estimate the impact of light-colored surfaces (roofs and pavements) and urban vegetation (trees, grass, shrubs) on the meteorology and air quality of a city, and to design effective implementation programs. In this report, we discuss the result of a semi-automatic Monte-Carlo statistical approach used to develop data on surface-type distribution and city-fabric makeup (percentage of various surface-types) using aerial color orthophotography. The digital aerial photographs for Salt Lake City covered a total of about 34 km2 (13 mi2). At 0.50-m resolution, there were approximately 1.4 x 108 pixels of data. Four major land-use types were examined: (1) commercial, (2) industrial, (3) educational, and (4) residential. On average, for the areas studied, vegetation covers about 46 percent of the area (ranging 44-51 percent), roofs cover about 21 percent (ranging 15-24 percent), and paved surfaces about 26 percent (ranging 21-28 percent). For the most part, trees shade streets, parking lots, grass, and sidewalks. In most non-residential areas, paved surfaces cover 46-66 percent of the area. In residential areas, on average, paved surfaces cover about 32 percent of the area. Land-use/land-cover (LU/LC) data from the United States Geological Survey were used to extrapolate these results from neighborhood scales to metropolitan Salt Lake City. In an area of roughly 560 km2, defining most of metropolitan Salt Lake City, over 60 percent is residential. The total roof area is about 110 km2, and the total paved surface area (roads, parking areas, sidewalks) covers about 170 km2. The total vegetated area covers about 230 km2.
Urban areas in warm climates create summer heat islands of daily average intensity of 3--5{degrees}C, adding to discomfort and increasing air-conditioning loads. Two important factors contributing to urban heat islands are reductions in albedo (lower overall city reflectance) and loss of vegetation (less evapotranspiration). Reducing summer heat islands by planting vegetation (shade trees) and increasing surface albedos, saves cooling energy, allows down-sizing of air conditioners, lowers air-conditioning peak demand, and reduces the emission of CO{sub 2} and other pollutants from electric power plants. The focus of this multi-year project, jointly sponsored by SMUD and the California Institute for Energy Efficiency (CIEE), was to measure the direct cooling effects of trees and white surfaces (mainly roofs) in a few buildings in Sacramento. The first-year project was to design the experiment and obtain base case data. We also obtained limited post retrofit data for some sites. This report provides an overview of the project activities during the first year at six sites. The measurement period for some of the sites was limited to September and October, which are transitional cooling months in Sacramento and hence the interpretation of results only apply to this period. In one house, recoating the dark roof with a high-albedo coating rendered air conditioning unnecessary for the month of September (possible savings of up to 10 kWh per day and 2 kW of non-coincidental peak power). Savings of 50% relative to an identical base case bungalow were achieved when a school bungalow`s roof and southeast wall were coated with a high-albedo coating during the same period. Our measured data for the vegetation sites do not indicate conclusive results because shade trees were small and the cooling period was almost over. We need to collect more data over a longer cooling season in order to demonstrate savings conclusively.
In this 12th of a series on urban forestry, homeowners and community planners are offered practical guidance in selection of landscape plantings which will significantly reduce wind velocity and heat loss from homes in winter and reduce energy costs for air conditioning in summer.