WASHINGTON, April 22, 2008—This Earth Day, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) encourages Congress to support the Energy Conservation Through Trees Act, introduced today by Representative Doris Matsui (CA-5). The bill will help lower energy usage and utility bills through planting residential shade trees.
“I am proud to have the support of the American Society of Landscape Architects for the bill I introduced today, the Energy Conservation Through Trees Act of 2008. We share a common goal of finding innovative and effective solutions to address our climate and energy challenges. Landscape architects provide a uniquely beneficial perspective in crafting these solutions,” said Rep. Doris O. Matsui.
The Energy Conservation Through Trees Act creates a grant program to assist electric utilities with programs that use targeted planting of shade trees to reduce residential energy demand caused by the need to run air conditioners and heaters at a high level.
“Planting shade trees serves as an effective approach to lowering home energy consumption, and we encourage members of Congress to follow Representative Matsui’s leadership,” said Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of ASLA. “Beyond lowering utility bills, trees can reduce the urban heat island effect, mitigate global warming through storing carbon dioxide, and help prevent flooding by absorbing stormwater.”
The legislation requires the use of science-based tree-siting guidelines to ensure that trees are not planted in locations that will disrupt pre-existing infrastructure, block solar panels and wind turbines, or damage power lines. Consultation during the development of these guidelines must be provided by Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) that are composed of local energy officials, arboricultural experts, and landscape architects. ASLA thanks Casey Trees, a non-profit tree planting organization in Washington, D.C., for providing technical recommendations and critical input on this important legislation.