State Plants 1500 Trees in City of Elizabeth
DEP & BPU Continue to Green New Jersey through
Cool Cities Initiative
(04/105) ELIZABETH -- Creating cleaner,
greener cities throughout New Jersey, Board of Public Utilities
(BPU) President Jeanne M. Fox and Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today
joined Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage, local students and
the New Jersey Tree Foundation to plant the first of 1500
shade trees in Elizabeth.
The tree planting is part of Cool Cities, a statewide urban
forest energy-efficiency initiative that is designed to
address the urban heat island effect by reducing summertime
temperatures in cities through the shading of trees.
"Planting trees in Elizabeth reduces air pollution,
lowers energy costs, and improves the overall quality of
life in urban communities. Trees also help filter and clean
water supplies, reduce water runoff, flooding, erosion and
storm water management costs," said DEP Commissioner
Campbell. "Simply put, urban trees make our cities
healthier and more affordable places to live."
The DEP and the BPU launched Cool Cities last fall to green
New Jersey's large cities by planting trees to reduce the
demand for electricity and lower energy consumption. The
BPU's Clean Energy Program has committed $5 million in funding
for the Cool Cities initiative, planting 3,000 shade trees
in Paterson and Trenton last fall and 500 trees in Newark
"The Cool Cities Initiative will promote energy conservation
and "livable cities" through tree planting,"
said Jeanne M. Fox, President of the New Jersey Board of
Public Utilities. "We hope to plant trees primarily
in the large underserved cities of New Jersey with low tree
coverage to save residents money, provide shade, reduce
pollution and help residents breathe cleaner, greener air."
The New Jersey Tree Foundation, Groundwork Elizabeth and
6th, 7th and 8th grade students from St. Anthony's School
helped plant approximately 9 Green Ash and Cumulus Serviceberry
shade trees in the area of the school between 2nd and 3rd
Streets. The remaining trees will be planted in the Peterstown
community of the city.
"The Cool Cities initiative is an impressive urban
environmental program that the City of Elizabeth is excited
to be a part of," said Mayor Chris Bollwage. "The
trees will bring new life, long term economic benefits,
increased property values, and a renewed sense of community
to the Peterstown area of our city. We all look forward
to a greener and cooler City as a result of this great collaboration
of agencies and partners."
The city of Elizabeth, in partnership with the nonprofit
Groundwork Elizabeth, will ensure the continued maintenance
and stewardship of the trees in Elizabeth.
This summer, the DEP and the New Jersey Tree Foundation
also began collecting data to measure the energy benefits
derived from the 3,000 trees planted in Trenton and Paterson
last fall. The data will enable them to predict future energy
savings as the trees continue to grow and shade the city.
This fall, the Cool Cities initiative will bring trees
to the cities of Orange, Passaic and Union, as well as additional
trees to Paterson and Trenton.
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
19 degrees. Studies show that a 25-foot tree can reduce
annual heating costs of a typical residence by eight to
Higher temperatures in cities can also cause health problems
for many urban residents. Hotter weather increases the incidence
of heat exhaustion, for example, and induces more asthma
attacks because heat concentrates air pollution and speeds
up smog formation. Further, higher temperatures result in
more expensive utility bills as residents run their air
In addition to providing shade from the sun, trees cool
the air by emitting droplets of water that draw heat as
they evaporate, which is a process called "evapotranspiration."
Trees 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.
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.