Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Home Energy Savings Are Made In The Shade

Date:
May 13, 2009
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study of California homes.

Shade trees positioned near houses in Sacramento, Calif., such as those in this photo, can significantly affect electricity use. Tree cover on the west and south sides of Sacramento homes reduced average summertime electricity demand by more than 5 percent, according to a study by NIST and the USDA.
Credit: NIST

Trees positioned to shade the west and south sides of a house may decrease summertime electric bills by 5 percent on average, according to a recent study* of California homes by researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Related Articles


The first large-scale study of its kind, the research paper considers the effects of shade on 460 single-family homes in Sacramento during the summer of 2007 and provides hard statistics showing how well-placed shade trees can reduce energy costs and atmospheric carbon, as well.

“People have known for a long time that trees have multiple benefits for people, but we’ve quantified one of them for the first time using actual billing data and put a dollar value on it,” said NIST’s David Butry, who authored the paper with Geoffrey Donovan of the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station.

The study’s findings included:

  • Planting trees on the west and south sides of a house decreased summertime electricity use, but planting them on the north actually increased it. Those on the east had no effect.
  • Fast-growing trees provide better help than do smaller ones, and placement of the trees, particularly the distance from the house, is a significant factor.
  • A London plane tree, planted on the west side of a house, can reduce carbon emissions from summertime electricity use by an average of 31 percent over 100 years.

This last finding was particularly significant to Butry, who said that trees not only reduce the carbon produced by the local gas or coal-fired power generator, but also remove carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas—from the atmosphere.

“Trees sequester carbon in addition to providing shade,” Butry said. “We measured how much these shade trees reduced the carbon created by burning fuels to produce the electricity, and found that the trees also sequestered an equivalent amount of carbon on top of that. So there’s a double benefit.”

Utility companies from as far away as South Korea and South Africa have contacted the team about expanding the study, which was limited to a single season in a single city.

“It would be really interesting to look at how the effect varies across regions of the U.S. and of the world, and to see what happens in wintertime,” Butry said. “Sacramento Municipal Utility was very helpful in providing us with the data we needed. But future studies will depend on who has data and shares it with us.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Donovan et al. The value of shade: Estimating the effect of urban trees on summertime electricity use. Energy and Buildings, 2009; 41 (6): 662 DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2009.01.002

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Home Energy Savings Are Made In The Shade." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090508134956.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2009, May 13). Home Energy Savings Are Made In The Shade. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090508134956.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Home Energy Savings Are Made In The Shade." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090508134956.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Arctic Warming Twice As Fast As Rest Of Planet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, thanks in part to something called feedback. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins