Harvesting Benefits of Trees

08-01-1999 // NWF Staff

Money does grow on trees: Two studies of trees around retail stores, from San Jose State University and the University of Washington, have found that good tree-canopy cover correlates with profitable retailing. Shoppers apparently respond to the vegetation´s pleasant ambiance and, in summer, to the shade. Not only do trees draw customers, they seem to help put people in the mood to spend.

As for your home finances, the U.S. Department of Energy´s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clearinghouse advises that trees shading the house help save on air-conditioning bills, and trees that help cut wind can help save on heating bills. The agency estimates that three trees save an average household as much as $250 annually. If you add bushes and vines next to the house to help insulate it, you can save even more.

New York City values its trees so much that "arborcide" is now a felony punishable by fines up to $15,000 or a year in jail. Cities increasingly are appreciating trees for their abilities to mitigate the difficulties of urban life. They cool down "heat islands" created when asphalt and buildings soak up heat, both with their shade and by drawing water from the ground and evaporating it from their leaves. The greenery also captures a significant amount of surface runoff from rainstorms and reduces noise pollution by absorbing sounds.

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