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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 35, Issue 4 — July 2009

An Experimental Analysis of the Impact of Tree Shade on Electricity Consumption    (View PDF)

David N. Laband and John P. Sophocleus

Abstract: Trees cast shade on homes and buildings, lowering the inside temperatures and thus reducing the demand for power to cool these buildings during hot times of the year. The potential monetary savings may be sizable, especially for those who live in hot climates, because electricity usage for cooling residential and commercial structures in summer months is costly. A controlled experiment was conducted to quantify the impact of tree shade on electricity consumption devoted exclusively to cooling a structure. We examine electricity consumption used to run air conditioning units set at identical temperatures in two otherwise identical buildings, one set in full sun, the other in full shade during the summer months of 2008 in Beauregard, Alabama. The building in full sun required 2.6 times more electricity for cooling than the building in full shade. Our findings contribute to a growing body of research which demonstrates that owners of residential and commercial properties located in hot regions can reap sizable monetary savings from shade trees that serve as natural complements to their artificial air-conditioning.

Keywords: Energy Savings; Natural Cooling; Tree Shade

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