Friday, September 4, 2009

Utility-funded, NGO administered tree planting program seeks to reduce demand side electric use; Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Daily Exchange:
Pilot project brings shade to homes in Waterloo and Kitchener
Waterloo - This fall, a new pilot project will provide the residents of Kitchener and Waterloo with an exclusive chance to save money, conserve energy and help the environment all at the same time. Modeled after a program that has brought over 13,000 residential trees to the Greater Toronto Area since 1996, the project invites homeowners to visit local nurseries, where they will receive a rebate on purchases of Southern Ontario’s beautiful native trees and shrubs.
The project, aptly named the “Cool Communities Residential Shade Tree Planting Program”, is aimed at encouraging homeowners to plant trees for energy conservation. Cooling homes through shading has significant long-term potential to reduce peak energy demand in Ontario. Shade trees planted on the southern and western sides of a home can save 25–40%, and reduce peak energy demand in summer by up to 30%, according to a study by the University of California Berkeley. By planting a tree, homeowners also improve their neighbourhoods by cleaning the air, decreasing pollution, attracting pollinators, and increasing biodiversity.

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