A Midwestern red maple with a 10-inch diameter trunk can save suburban homeowners nearly $100 every year. You might be thinking that a 10-inch red maple tree isn't a very big tree. This is true. It's not going to provide you with enough shade to significantly lower your annual energy bill. But there's more to consider:
- stormwater runoff
- property value
- home energy usage
- air quality or the absorption of pollutants
- CO2 usage
These factors are hard to quantify. The National Tree Benefit Calculator takes those variables into consideration. Based on the STREETS tool, this calculator takes into account tree location, trunk size, and what kind of tree it is to calculate annual benefits of those hard-to-quantify variables. The result is a starting point for understanding how your trees will benefit you economically and environmentally now and in the years to come.
See Your Small Tree Value Grow In Benefit
Take our red maple example, for instance. Since it has a 10-inch diameter trunk, it was planted about seven years ago. This would make it about eight or nine years old if you planted a one- to two-year-old sapling. Here's the breakdown of annual benefits based on our midwestern location, red maple as the type of tree, and 10-inches as the tree's diameter:
- storm water--$21.37
- property value--$38.76
- energy--$28.64 (electricity and natural gas)
- air quality--$4.67
This does not take into account tree upkeep. It doesn't take into account arborist or homeowner interaction. What is tells you is that your red maple will intercept about 788 gallons of stormwater runoff each year. It will also increase your property value about 40 dollars. Your electricity usage will go down about 135 kilowatts, and your natural gas usage will go down about 19 therms. That saves you money in home energy costs. Note that this can vary dependent on whether your tree is close to your home or further out in the yard. Your red maple will also absorb various pollutants and reduce atmospheric carbon by 444 pounds.
In a few years, when your red maple has grown to about twice its size, you will see your financial and environmental impact increase about 2.5 times its original benefit. What does this all mean? It means that planting your red maple is not only helping you save a bit of money every year, it is making an environmental impact that grows as your tree grows. Talk to an arborist for more information.