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Arbor Day Foundation Works with USDA on Building Blocks for Climate Smart Agriculture & Forestry

date 04/24/15



For more information, contact

Arbor Day Foundation Anthony Marek amarek@arborday.org

Nebraska City, Neb. (April 23, 2015) -- Today, with partners including the Arbor Day Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a comprehensive and detailed approach to support land owners in their response to climate change. The approach spans a range of technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon storage, and generate clean renewable energy.

President Obama has made clear that no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. The effects of climate change can no longer be denied or ignored – last year was the planet's warmest year recorded, and 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened this century. All over the country, Americans, including farmers and ranchers, are already facing devastating impacts – from severe floods to extreme heat and drought to increased challenges due to wildfires, disease and pests. That's why the Administration has taken historic action to cut the carbon pollution that drives climate change and protect American communities from the impacts. And throughout this week, the Administration has announced new steps to address the threat of climate change and protect the people and places climate change puts at risk.

In connection with today's announcement, the Arbor Day Foundation is announcing early actions and commitments in support of USDA's approach:

The Arbor Day Foundation plans to work with 20 different utility partners in 18 states and the District of Columbia in 2015 to place 40,000 trees into the hands of tree planters through the Energy-Saving Trees program.

The 2015 Arbor Day Foundation Energy-Saving Trees utility partners are Atlantic City Electric, Baltimore Gas and Electric, Black Hills Energy, Black Hills Power, CenterPoint Energy, Colorado Spring Utilities, ComEd, Cheyenne Fuel Light and Power, Delmarva Power, Greenlight Energy, Idaho Power, Nebraska City Utilities, Omaha Public Power District, Oncor, PG&E, Pepco, Peco, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and Unitil.

As of 2014, nearly 80,000 trees have been distributed nationwide through the Energy-Saving Trees program, engaging nearly 50,000 homeowners, and yielding a projected cumulative environmental impact of 171,397 MwH saved, 156,367 metric tons of carbon sequestered, 2,206,991 Therms saved, and $1.8 million leveraged by participating electric utility partners.

With spring planting underway across most of the nation, the Arbor Day Foundation celebrates our 2015 partner utilities engaged in strategic tree-based energy conservation through the Energy-Saving Trees program. Innovative utility companies across the country are working with the Arbor Day Foundation to help reduce energy use through strategic tree planting. These conservation minded utility companies are providing a tree or reduced-cost trees to their customers who plant trees to save energy.

Energy-Saving Trees is an innovative, strategic tree planting initiative that engages partners in the urban forestry community to support the planting of trees in locations specifically chosen to reduce carbon emissions from energy plants by reducing energy consumption in homes and businesses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that properly placed trees can reduce energy costs by up to 20 percent. The program spurs long-term electric utility investment in large-scale tree planting nationwide.

Energy-Saving Trees was launched four years ago to help conserve energy, reduce peak demand and lower utility bills through strategic tree planting.

Energy-Saving Trees helps people through our utility partners to strategically plant trees. Central to the program is an interactive online tool that was created by the Foundation and the Davey Institute, a division of the Davey Tree Expert Co., and uses peer-reviewed scientific research from the U.S. Forest Service's i-Tree Software to calculate estimated energy savings benefits over time. Other benefits of planting trees include clean air, clean water, and wildlife habitat. People use the online tool to personally plot their yard as seen from satellite imagery in order to select the right tree -- provided by their utility provider -- and the right place for planting that will yield the greatest energy and cost savings. The Energy-Saving Trees program works with members and partners to help people save energy through planting trees.

"We are very excited to partner with the USDA and conservation and customer focused utilities to work together in helping residents save energy," said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation president. "Our utility partners are the key to accomplishing our residential energy savings goals through the use of strategically planted trees."

The newly planted trees mature to help provide summer shade, thereby reducing cooling costs, and help provide winter wind breaks and protection, thereby reducing heating costs. The trees also provide natural beauty and habitat for local birds and wildlife.

About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.

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