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