Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trees: Making you healthy & saving you money!

I recently read a blog on the EPA website that was concerned about the future of trees, and they brought up an interesting point: why do views of the future show the world without vegetation? Even the author's favorite cartoon, The Jetsons, was void of greenery. While that may have had something to do with the time and lack of knowledge about the world, it is vital to realize that at least in today's world, plants have a very important place.

As we extend our Earth Day and Arbor Day campaign, let's take a look at what trees and other vegetation can do for your health, the environment, and even your pockets!
First, trees and other plants remove tons of CO2 and other pollutants from the air (literally), and replace it with the oxygen we need to live. Some amazing facts on this subject (provided by SaveATree):
  • One tree can absorb as much carbon in a year as a car produces while driving 26,000 miles.
  • Over the course its life, a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide.
  • A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. That means two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four!
Filtering polluted air means reduced irritants for those with allergies, and a healthier experience for the rest of us in general! There are even some studies that say hospital patients have shorter recovery times when they have views of plants and trees (Trees for Cities).
Trees in urban areas help promote walking (and therefore a healthier lifestyle), while also reducing the radiating heat that can generate from concrete and pavement during the summer and keeping your neighborhood cooler.

When it comes to your pockets, trees can make a surprising impact as well!
  • The shade and wind buffering provided by trees reduces annual heating and cooling costs by 2.1 billion dollars.
  • Well-maintained trees and shrubs can increase property value by up to 14%.
  • Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30%
  • A healthy tree can have a value of up to $10,000.
Making sure that trees are planted purposefully around your yard can have a huge effect on your property value and energy costs. Take a look at the Arbor Day Foundation's explanation of where to plant trees to save energy & money: even a bush planted to shade your A/C unit can impact your energy bill. If you live in a city or suburb, with limited space, you can plant a vine to grow on a trellis, and can shade your wall from summer heat!

I certainly don't consider myself a "treehugger," but these are compelling facts. Not to mention, when you're talking about my family's health or my wallet, you've got my ear. So, if you didn't plant a tree to celebrate this past Earth Day or Arbor Day, you should! Better yet, you can plant a tree right now for no cost, and the only work included is clicking your mouse ;)