Trees Help Beat Urban Heat
Author: Alicia Jooste
By planting a small tree in your front lawn, you could reduce electricity bills by $28. Give it a few more decades and research shows the savings could be as much as $400 on an annual electricity bill.
This concept has been trialed in Blacktown, western Sydney, where residents are welcoming a transformation of residential streets to sustainable landscaping designs that can help reduce urban heat levels.
In partnership with the local council, the Cool Streets program aims to mitigate the effect of rising temperatures in Western Sydney suburbs by increasing the number of trees being planted.
Known as the urban heat island effect, it occurs when large amounts of vegetation are replaced with buildings that retain heat during the day, according to Dr Brent Jacobs, research director at the Institute of Sustainable Futures at UTS.
After a summer where the region experienced a record number of days hitting 40 degrees plus, such an initiative has been embraced by Blacktown residents.
The program was developed by landscape architect Dr Libby Gallagher, who during her PHD identified that changes to street designs could reduce CO2 emissions, cool neighbourhoods and reduce power bills for residents.
Dr Gallagher’s research shows that dense tree coverage could reduce the temperature in a shaded area by up to seven degrees.
Within 10 years the trees will be providing significant shade and cooling. Jump forward to 40 years and each household will be saving approximately $232 on their electricity bills.
The project was run in close consultation with community members, which was key to starting a dialogue about sustainable options, whilst also empowering residents to recognize the role they can play in the fight against climate change.
David Towns, Cool Streets Environmental Projects Officer said, “the trial was proof of the important role trees play in reducing the effects of rising heat levels in urban settings. The project also had a positive impact on moral and improved attitudes of trees,” he said.
Planet Ark recognizes that trees will continue to be key players in our battle against climate change, particularly in cities where urban forests help purify the air and ground water, regulate temperatures, provide shade, and encourage pride of place.
- Find out how you can get involved in tree planting in your local area. Contact your council, local nature care group or sign up for a campaign such as National Tree Day
- Get out and about this weekend and embrace time in nature. If you are in NSW, check out this Pop-Up Sculpture Gallery in the Blue Mountains Rainforest
Alicia worked at Planet Ark in 2016.
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - Planting trees for National Tree Day and beyond »
- Ecosystem restoration led by a paper company is improving Sumatra’s biodiversity »
- Looking for ways to fight climate change? Plant trees »
- The Indian engineer reviving lakes in the state of Uttar Pradesh »
- International environmental agency committed to conservation in Australia »
- Mr Titmarsh and the Magna Carta mangrove »
- A 'dose' of nature to cure your ailments »
- The disaster zone turned wildlife haven »
- "Blue belt" expansion establishes UK as global leader in marine conservation »
- Philippine students graduating with a green thumb »
- New campaign to green the globe with millions of trees »
- Australian volunteers enlisted for war on microplastic pollution »
- The revegetation plan to bring back the glossy black cockatoo »
- The world's highest emu bob clean-up »
- The revival pack for tired bees »
- West Papua becomes Indonesia's first conservation province »
- Technology leading the fight against invasive rubber vine »
- The world is greener than it was 20 years ago »
- Australian councils investing in Seabins to clean our waters »
- British carnivore numbers on the rise after approaching extinction »
- Hawaiian coral reefs showing positive signs following mass bleaching »
- The new buzz around solar farms »
- New tree cover bringing back the rain in Cambodia »
- Scientists crack the cane toad genome »
- Deforestation in Indonesia on the decline »
- $10 billion pledged to protecting global marine environment »
- Sharks returning to flourishing Maya Bay following tourist ban »
- Tiny bird's big breeding effort saves it from extinction in South Australia »
- Pakistan hits billion trees goal ahead of schedule »
- International community approaching nature refuge goals »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - The habit of walking »
- Researchers encouraged by cleanliness of Ningaloo Reef »
- Serranía de Chiribiquete becomes the world's largest tropical rainforest national park »
- The funniest wildlife photos of 2018 »
- Mountain gorilla numbers on the rise in Virunga »
- Everyday Enviro with Elise - Bringing in the green »
- Ethiopian community showing potential of revegetation »
- Our Schools Tree Day and National Tree Day »
- Secret Mozambique rainforest piques scientific interest »
- Disused and dirty swamp transformed into vibrant wetlands in the heart of suburbia »
- Threatened koalas receive NSW rescue package »
- Super coral to resist ocean warming »
- Beach cleanup leads to turtle comeback »
- The bush stone-curlews are back in town »
- Dutch scientists developing smart app to measure water pollution »
- Italian sheepdogs become little penguin protectors »
- Indigenous women helping to conserve glowing turtles »
- A year in review - Australian natives made some great comebacks in 2017 »
- Vast new ocean reserve created off coast of Mexico »
- Reconnaissance to protect the Great Barrier Reef »
- Koalas found in national park after decades of absence »
- The calming effect of contact with nature »
- World's largest trees given new hope for preservation »
- Nearly 400 new species discovered in the Amazon »
- Brush-tailed phascogale makes a surprise appearance on revegetated islands »
- Decades of community action brings a disappearing frogmouth back from the brink »
- Back from the brink: recent 'baby boom' offers new hope for endangered southern right whale »
- Picky plants: Growing green in difficult environments »
- How indoor plants can give city-slickers a literal breath of fresh air »
- Island sanctuary brings hope to dwindling quokka population »
- 1.5 million people, 12 hours, 66 million trees: India's commitment to The Paris Agreement »
- The little Brown Antechinus makes a comeback at Sydney's North Head »
- How you can make the most of Planet Ark's new research into outdoor learning »
- Capturing Carbon to Tackle Climate Change »
- Futureproofing the Lockyer Valley with 20'000 trees »
- Dugong Numbers on the Rise Again in the Great Barrier Reef »
- Answering the Call to Connect With Nature »
- Scientist Discover Massive New Forests »
- 'Creature Compost' - Zoo Reduces Landfill and Generates Income »
- Travel Companies Put Kindness Before Profit in Animal Tourism »
- Thousands of Birds Descend Upon Inland Lakes »
- Chile's National Parks Expand by 10 Million Acres »
- Old Televisions Converted to Bee Hotels »
- What if Rivers Could Sue? »
- Access to Nature Should be a Human Right - Report »
- Rock-Wallabies Fighting Back »
- Scientists Use Tasmanian Devil's Immune System to Beat Cancer »
- New Coral Reef Rewrites Textbooks »
- Launch of Positive Environment News »