Creating Cool, Healthy Communities in Vermont

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Though primarily a rural state, many of the urban centers in Vermont have high densities of exposed asphalt and rooftops but limited tree cover.  Residents in these areas are not benefiting from the energy-saving potential of trees, and are also at a greater risk for serious heat-related illnesses – such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke – that occur when statewide temperatures reach 87°F or hotter.  In 2017 the Vermont Urban & Community Forestry Program (VTUCF) partnered with the Vermont Health Department’s Climate & Health Program to provide homeowners in vulnerable communities with free trees to increase energy efficiency and reduce air temperatures around homes. 

With $10,000 in funding from the Climate & Health Program, VTUCF coordinated a free tree giveaway in two targeted Vermont communities using the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees program.  Energy-Saving Trees is research-based and provides residents with an easy-to-use online mapping tool that calculates and directs where to plant trees for the greatest energy-saving benefits.  Eligible residents pre-ordered containerized trees – sourced by the Arbor Day Foundation – and picked them up on a sunny Saturday afternoon in June.
In total, 200 trees were provided to 109 homeowners.  At the local tree pickup stations, homeowners were instructed on proper planting techniques and were given educational information on how to properly care for their new trees.  At maturity, these 200 trees will save 106,695 kWh, result in 221,040 lbs. of sequestered/avoided carbon, and provide nearly $50,000 in estimated energy and community benefits.   VTUCF and the Climate & Health Program will be collaborating again in 2018 to offer trees to residents in two new communities and hope to sustain the partnership into the future. 
Media Contact
Gwen Kozlowski
802-651 -8343, Ext 506