Fast Fact Library
The Landscape Performance Series Fast Fact Library is a searchable collection of landscape benefits derived from published research. Each includes a citation and links to the full article when available.
This resource is intended to showcase landscape’s multiple and sometimes surprising environmental, economic and social benefits and to help you make the case for sustainable landscape solutions in your community, with your clients, or on Capitol Hill.
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A Modesto, California study found that asphalt on streets shaded by large canopy trees lasts longer than asphalt on unshaded streets, reducing maintenance costs by 60% over 30 years.
McPherson, E. Gregory, Muchnick, Jules, (2005). Effects of Street Tree Shade on Asphalt Concrete Pavement Performance. Journal of Arboriculture, 31, 303-310.
A study conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that significant energy savings are possible by placing deciduous shade trees near the south and west walls of buildings. Researchers used weather data for 240 urban locations in the United States to run models simulating the effects of these and other heat island reduction strategies on building cooling- and heating-energy use and peak power demand across a variety of building types. Residential units saw annual electricity savings of 190-1300kWh per 1,000 sf of roof area. In office space, savings ranged from 100-1500kWh per 1,000 sf, and in retail buildings, savings ranged from 250-1700kWh per 1,000 sf.
Monitoring conducted by the National Research Council Canada on an experimental roof in Ottawa showed that an extensive green roof can reduce summer heat gain by 95%, winter heat loss by 26%, and overall heat flow by 47% of that of conventional roofs. The result was a 75% decrease in the average daily energy use for spring and summer: 6.0-7.5 kWh/day under the conventional roof, compared to less than 1.5 kWh/day under the extensive green roof.
Baskaren, Bas, Liu, Karen, (2003). Thermal performance of green roofs through field evaluation. Proceedings for the First North American Green Roof Infrastructure Conference, Awards and Trade Show. Chicago, IL. May 29-30, 2003, pp. 1-10.
An analysis for Baton Rouge, Sacramento, and Salt Lake City, estimated that planting an average of four shade trees per house would lead to net annual energy savings of $6.3 M, $12.8 M, and $1.5 M, respectively. The estimated annual reduction in carbon emissions is 19 kilotons Carbon (ktC), 60 ktC, and 13 ktC. (The per-tree reduction is 10–11 kg/year.) These estimates are only from the direct reduction in net cooling/heating energy use of buildings. Once the impact of the community cooling is included, these savings are increased by at least 25%.
Akbari, Hashem, (2002). Shade trees reduce building energy use and CO2 emissions from power plants. Environmental Pollution, 116, s119-s126.
Simulations of the impact of tree shade on residential air conditioning in California showed that three shade trees (two on the west, one on the east side) could reduce a home’s annual energy use for cooling by 10-50% (200-600 kWh, or $30-$110) and peak electrical use by up to 23% (0.7 kW).
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