More Trees Improve Local Weather and Save Energy
Adding greenery to cities and neighborhoods is more than just an aesthetic choice. According to researchers at the University of British Columbia, adding trees to neighborhoods actually improves the weather by reducing the impact of wind. Researchers designed a computer model and tested the impact of trees on a Vancouver neighborhood. Based on the data, trees could save the neighborhood modeled up to 15% on energy bills in the summer and 10% on energy bills in the winter.
Trees have the potential to improve weather in terms of humidity and temperature and also reduce the pressure gradient. A larger pressure gradient can infiltrate buildings through cracks and crevices and influence energy consumptions. Landscaping like trees can reduce 30 MPH winds to as low as three-to-six MPH, improving pressure gradients and reducing energy consumption. Trees also filter the air naturally lessening the harmful effects of pollution.
Through the models developed, urban planners can take the guesswork out of where to plant trees and other vegetation. Marco Giometto, a civil engineering postdoctoral fellow at University of British Columbia, said, “hopefully within a couple of years, there will be a more user-friendly interface and computing power will have increased and it might really become a powerful tool for architects and urban designers to decide where to place vegetation within a city.”