Tricounty News

DNR question of the week - Question: Winter heating bills have been relatively high the past couple winters. How can planting trees help lower energy bills in the winter and summer?

Answer: Shade trees can reduce air conditioning bills by nearly 25 percent and reduce annual fuel bills by up to 20 percent. Also, trees around the community help keep us cool in summer and shelter us from harsh winter winds. In order to achieve these savings and benefits, trees should be strategically located on your property and throughout your neighborhood. For example, avoid planting shade trees near south-facing windows. If a tree already blocks a south-facing window, remove the lower branches. The angle of the sun is much lower in the winter, so not blocking these windows will allow you to take full advantage of the free solar energy when it's cold outside. On a regional scale, trees could significantly reduce energy use during peak-load periods and reduce air pollution. More information on how trees can lower your energy bills can be found on the DNR's Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us/treecare/energy/index.html.