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Grow a Tree … Cut your Electric Bill

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Summary:

It’s finally warm outside – time to get out the old trowel and pruning gear for this spring’s landscaping…and the old checkbook for this summer’s air conditioning bills. We tend to get spoiled in April and May, where houses in most US climates need little heating or cooling and our electric bills are low. But when muggy summer months hit and our a/c causes the bill to rise again, we sit there wondering how we could save on cooling costs. Well it turns out one of the best ways to cut a/c use is something you can do with your trowel: plant a tree!

Tree

It’s finally warm outside – time to get out the old trowel and pruning gear for this spring’s landscaping…and the old checkbook for this summer’s air conditioning bills. We tend to get spoiled in April and May, where houses in most US climates need little heating or cooling and our electric bills are low. But when muggy summer months hit and our a/c causes the bill to rise again, we sit there wondering how we could save on cooling costs. Well it turns out one of the best ways to cut a/c use is something you can do with your trowel: plant a tree!

Tree Grow 500 Clr 10100

You’d be amazed how much sunlight tree branches can stop from hitting your house – every ray that doesn’t get through to your home’s exterior in the summertime is an air conditioning savings: it takes much less electricity to keep the house cool when there is no direct sun beating on it. The Arbor Day Foundation estimates that a few strategically placed trees can save 15-35% on your annual cooling costs. Real Estate professionals are even touting this simple secret, as it also increases the value of your home.

Utilities are getting in on the act now, too: if residential electricity consumers use less power during the hottest times, it helps them manage their load – they can avoid ramping up all their power plants full throttle, which in turn saves everybody money. That’s why many power companies are offering tree planting incentives: rebates for shade trees are available all over the country, from SRP in Central Arizona and CPS Energy in San Antonio to Kaukana and Waunakee Wisconsin. In California, it seems like every local public utility has a tree rebate program: we found them in Annaheim, Pasadena, Roseville and Riverside.

The Arbor Day Foundation has a program with several utilities through which you can sign up to get a free tree shipped to your house and help planting it. The group just finished its spring shipments, which went from March through May, but the next round starts in October for fall tree planting season – check out if your utility is on the list, and happy planting!

By Lisa Zelljadt, you can find me on Google+

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