...an electrical energy saver and carbon reducer as efficient as a tree.
On my morning run, my eye caught sight of a green tag hanging on a tree planted in a neighborhood parkway. I was so intrigued that I actually stopped to take a closer look.
According to the tag, the tree I was admiring (a fine maple) was worth $220 a year in environmental benefits. Of course, my inquiring librarian mind wanted to know more about this so I dashed home to my computer to do some research.
As I soon learned through a few appropriate keyword searches and visits to the websites of the organizations prominantly featured on the tag, in my community (and several surrounding towns), the tags were created for Arbor Day by the Morton Arboretum and hung by volunteers from a variety of corporate and nonprofit organizations.
Trees in an urban environment are worth even more!
The tags call attention to how it really does pay to plant trees by highlighting and placing a monetary value on energy savings, carbon reduction and increases in property values. Science can actually calculate these benefits. Trees shade homes, reducing the amount of cooling energy a homeowner uses and the accompanying electrical bill. Trees remove carbon dioxide, the infamous greenhouse gas, from the atmosphere, by absorbing it and using it in the process of photosynthesis. Tree roots catch rain, thus decreasing the amount of water that runs off into storm water systems.
Photosynthesis (courtesy of Britannica Online)
If you'd like to find out how much your trees are worth, you can use the National Tree Benefit Calculator which was created by Casey Trees of Washington D.C. and the Davey Tree Expert Company. Just type in your zip code, then choose the tree species and enter its diameter. Clicking on the different tabs will provide more information about specific benefits. If you are not sure about what kinds of trees you have, check out the Arbor Day Foundation or the Dichotomous Tree Key (from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) or visit your library, where a friendly, environmentally aware librarian will help you find a book so you can... read more about it!
Here endeth the science lesson...
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