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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Bradley M. Campbell, Commissioner

 

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities
Jeanne M. Fox, President

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2003

Contact: Amy Cradic (609) 984-1795
Gloria Montealegre (BPU) 973-648-2134

 

State to Plant 1,500 Trees in City of Trenton:
DEP & BPU Kick-Off Cool Cities: an Urban Forest Energy Efficiency Initiative

(03/153) TRENTON - Advancing Governor McGreevey's goal to plant 100,000 new trees across New Jersey, state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley Campbell and Board of Public Utilities (BPU) President Jeanne Fox today joined local students, the city of Trenton and the New Jersey Tree Foundation to plant the first 25 of 1,500 shade trees in Trenton, kicking off a new, statewide urban forest energy efficiency initiative - Cool Cities.

"By planting trees in New Jersey's urban areas, we can absorb more air pollution, significantly cool elevated temperatures in cities, lower energy costs and improve the overall quality of life in our urban communities," said DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell. "Simply put, urban trees make our cities cleaner, more pleasant, and more affordable places to live."

To reap the environmental, health and economic benefits of urban trees, DEP and BPU launched Cool Cities to green New Jersey's large cities through tree planting efforts that will help reduce the demand for electricity and lower energy consumption. Cool Cities is funded by BPU's Clean Energy Program. BPU has committed to $2 million in funding for the initial phase of Cool Cities, planting 3,000 trees this year.

"The Urban Forest Energy Efficiency Initiative is a smart investment in the quality of life for city residents," said Jeanne M. Fox, President of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. "That is why the BPU New Jersey Clean Energy Program is committing $2 million to plant 3,000 trees this year. Trees conserve energy and help to make our cities attractive places to live and work. They also reduce incoming solar radiation by approximately 90 percent and through the absorption of sunlight energy, evaporation, and a reduction in heat-trapping air pollutants - trees will help reduce the heat effect on city streets during the summer."

The New Jersey Tree Foundation, volunteers and 40 children from the Mott School in Trenton helped launch the Cool Cities Trenton project by planting approximately 25 green ash shade trees near the school. Other targeted cities are being identified and will be announced upon implementation.

"Today's Mott School event represents just one of many joint initiatives between our city and DEP," said City of Trenton Mayor Douglas H. Palmer. "Like all our teamwork, this is a strategic and significant collaboration. Our city has made major strides on recycling, developing urban parks, and cleaning up brownfields, and we have been able to be much more effective because of the leadership of Brad Campbell and Governor McGreevey. Today we are very proud to extend that relationship, to use urban forestry in ways that will create yet another smart safeguard for our environment."

Temperatures in urban settings are often five degrees above surrounding suburbs and rural areas, which is referred to as the 'urban heat island' effect, and trees can help lower these urban temperatures by as much as six to nineteen degrees. This increase in temperature is bad for many urban residents' health. Hotter weather increases the frequency of heat-related health problems, such as heat exhaustion, and induces more asthma attacks, as the heat concentrates air pollution and speeds up smog formation. In addition, higher temperatures result in more expensive utility bills as residents run their air conditioners longer.

In addition to providing shade from the sun, trees cool the air by excreting droplets of water that draw heat as they evaporate, which is a process called " evapotranspiration. Trees also absorb sound, prevent erosion and provide habitats for birds and animals. Their leaves help improve air quality by absorbing noxious gases and trapping particulate matter from the air. Trees also help filter and clean water supplies, reduce water runoff, flooding, erosion and storm water management costs. Trees make towns more attractive to business and tourism, transforming a neighborhood's appearance and increasing home market value, as they bring nature closer to where we live and work.

 

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