By Ben Geman - 01/11/10 05:32 PM EST
“Three mature shade trees on the west, east, or south sides of a house would reduce air conditioning load and save on average about 642 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year — approximately what a refrigerator uses — or about 4.6% of average annual household electricity consumption,” the report finds.
Actually the benefits of shade have not gone unnoticed on Capitol Hill.
The big Democratic energy and climate bill the House approved in June authorizes an Energy Department grant program for tree planting. It would provide aid to utilities that work with nonprofit tree-planting groups to increase shade around homes and small office buildings.
The bill notes that tree planting can also help reduce winter energy usage by blocking cold winds.