Planting trees in New Jersey neighborhoods to save energy
What is the Cool Cities Initiative?
The Cool Cities Initiative is a joint effort between the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU). Through this cooperative effort, the DEP plants thousands of shade trees in residential neighborhoods and low-rise mixed-use areas across the Garden State. Trees are only planted on publicly owned land such as along streets and roads, in parks, near sidewalks, and on school grounds. Through this Initiative, the DEP has planted over 20,000 shade trees since 2003 and is continuing to plant thousands of trees across New Jersey.
How do communities benefit from these trees?
In summer, cities become “heat islands” which can get up to 12°F hotter than the surrounding countryside. Trees provide shade and reduce the heat absorbed which lowers surface temperatures by 7° to 11°F and air temperatures by 2° to 7°F. Trees also lower heating bills by blocking cold winter wind. Since trees keep cities cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, less electricity is used for heating and cooling.
What is the process for a Cool Cities tree planting?
- Sign agreement with a qualified municipality
- Assess site to determine quantity and types of trees
- Notify property owners of tree plantings
- Locate underground and overhead utility lines
- Prepare tree planting site and cut concrete sidewalks
- Plant big trees in big spaces, little trees in little spaces
- Monitor and care for new trees
- Relinquish the tree care to the municipality after one year