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).

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 September 17, 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 September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. 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:
from the past week

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