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Power From The Trees

May 23, 2012

gocolumbiamo.com

On a hot Missouri afternoon a little bit of shade can be anyone’s friend. But did you know that shade, when properly placed, can help you save money on your electric bill too?

Columbia Water and Light knows this and is offering a free shade tree to people who are electric customers. Someone from Columbia Water and Light will visit your home to suggest the best spots to put your shade tree. You’ll also receive instructions on how to plant your tree.

According to the U.S. Forest Service Center for Urban Forest Research a house can save 30% of its energy use by planting shade trees. One study found that trees planted on the south and west sides of the house reduced summertime electricity bills by approximately $25. And that can add up considering these trees have a lifespan longer than many homeowners. Trees also block winter winds and prevent soil erosion.

Columbia Water and Light offers multiple different shade trees through this program. Along with the free tree you’ll get suggestions on where to plant the tree depending on what kind you choose. Deciduous trees and shrubs should be planted near south walls and windows. If you plant trees in direct line at a 75° angle clockwise from due south, the trees will shade the corner of your home. Coniferous trees should be grouped together in the northeast and western sides of your home. This will help block winter winds.

When choosing a place to plant your tree make sure you pick a spot that will support the tree when it’s fully grown. It’s also important to leave room for the tree to grow both above and below ground. The trees should be planted away from power lines and driveways.

Electric customers can find out more about the shade tree program by signing up online or by calling Columbia Water and Light (573-874-7325). Once you have your coupon for your free shade tree you can pick it up at the Superior Garden Center on 2450 Trails West Avenue.

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