During the past eight years about 10,500 homeowners have benefited from the Energy Saving Trees Program.
During the past eight years about 10,500 homeowners have benefited from the Energy Saving Trees Program.

HYATTSVILLE, MARYLAND - Planting trees is Anka Meyer’s favorite hobby. She says there are so many reasons to love them. Trees bring life to her garden.

“Right now they bloom, then they will be green, then they will have fall colors,” she said. “So they change throughout the year, which is really nice, I mean trees generate happiness.”

Trees also improve air quality, reduce the effect of summer heat and make a huge difference in the climate around her house. They can save energy.

“What we noticed when we come in from the street into our area, the temperature actually drops several degrees, probably 5 to 10 degrees, Fahrenheit degrees because of the trees.”

Free trees

This is the second year Meyer has participated in the Energy-Saving Trees program.

A few weeks ago, she received a free dogwood tree.

What she likes about dogwoods is that they are native to the region she lives in, and they are beautiful. 

“It’s an investment, especially if you get trees that are disease resistant,” she notes.

Pepco, the utility company that supplies electricity in the Washington, D.C., area, and the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation are sponsoring the Energy-Saving Trees program. Through this program,1,000 free trees are given away to residential customers, with the goal of saving energy.

Arbor Day Foundation’s Kristen Bousquet, a program development manager, says the trees benefit homeowners and neighborhoods in other ways, too.

“Pepco is one of dozens of companies in America working in partnership with us on this program,” she said. “In addition to conserving energy, trees are bringing an environmental outlook to the community, bettering the communities they serve.”

This spring, The Arbor Day Foundation has launched a program with other partners across the U.S. called the Time for Trees Initiative.

“Throughout that initiative we will be planting 100 million trees and inspiring 5 million tree planters around the globe to bring trees to communities, to forests, to everywhere threes are needed,” she said.

Volunteers planted trees at Minikahda Vista Park during the NeighborWoods Kick-Off Event, Oct. 5, 2016, in St Louis Park, Minn.

Planting trees, saving money

Serving as windbreak in the winter and providing shade in summer, trees can help homeowners conserve energy.

“Also, providing a tree to homeowners can increase their property value up to 18 percent,” Bousquet said.

According to Pepco spokesperson, Christina Harper, the program has become more popular in the past eight years. More than 10,500 homeowners have planted around 17,000 trees through the program.

“A properly planted tree can save a homeowner about 15% to 17% on their energy bills,” Harper said. “There is a tool on the arborday.org/pepco website and you can go map out some of the best places to actually plant that tree.”

Anka Meyer of Hyattsville, Md., says trees make a huge difference in the climate and save energy.

Tree lover Anka Meyer encourages others to plant trees. The first step is to find out which trees are native to your area.

“Don’t plant anything that is not adapted to it,” she adds. “If you want to see the tree grow while you’re still in the house, don’t pick white oak because it takes forever. The dogwoods grow quite nice. Look where you plant. Don’t plant too close to the house.”

That is the impact the program organizers are aiming at, inspiring more people around the globe to plant trees.