Community forests are vulnerable to invasive pests and a changing climate. Urban forests provide a host of environmental, social, and economic benefits to communities. Cold, long, and windy winters dominate the energy budget of upper Midwest communities. Hot and humid summers are becoming increasingly constant. Quantifying the relationship between energy use and trees has been simulated and estimated in a variety of ways. Few studies have successfully measured this interaction across the landscape, especially in heating dominated climates. Digitized urban tree canopy data at multiple scales has been correlated with weather adjusted normalized energy consumption data while controlling for a variety of housing characteristics. A significant relationship between increased tree canopy and reduced winter heating energy consumption is found at 500-1100 feet (p<0.01), and also from 400-1500 feet (p<0.05) from parcels. Summer cooling energy reduction from increased tree canopy at the parcel (p<0.05) and distances beyond 900 feet (p<0.10) was also found significant. Saving energy with urban forest canopy is a community scale opportunity and obligation.
University of Minnesota Master of Science thesis. July 2013. Major: Natural Resources Science and Management. Advisor: Gary Johnson. 3 computer files (PDF); 483, 1, 3 pages.
Potyondy, Philip John.
Influence of Urban Tree Canopy on Single-Family Residential Structure Energy Consumption at the Community Scale in Hutchinson, Minnesota.
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