The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Protect and Enhance the Nationís Natural Resource Base and Environment
Saving Energy Costs with Operation Cool Shade

Impact Nugget
By planting shade trees around their homes, 442 homeowners in Pima County, Arizona collectively saved a projected $61,663 in electrical costs during the peak summer months in 2005. More than 1,300 trees were distributed to these electric cooperative customers. Since 2000, a total of 9,258 trees have been distributed to 3,231 customers in Pima County.

Studies show that proper shading of the home can reduce energy consumption by as much as 20 percent. “Operation Cool Shade” began in 2000 when the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Pima County joined with Tri-Co Electric Cooperative to distribute shade trees to residents for energy conservation.

What has been done?
Tri-Co Electric Cooperative and Pima County Extension provided trees and training, respectively, to interested residents. A requirement of the program was that trees be planted in locations around the house to ensure maximum shading. Master Gardeners completed “train the trainer” programs and in turn trained residents regarding the correct selection, placement, planting and care of shade trees.

In 2005 eight Master Gardener volunteers conducted four annual programs, two in Green Valley and two in Marana, for 185 participants. An additional four Master Gardeners staffed a tree planting and care answer booth at the tree distribution day conducted by TriCo Electric Cooperative's headquarters in Marana, Arizona. Tri-Co employees conducted follow-up inspections to ensure that trees were planted in the pre-determined locations and that the trees remained in good health. (Follow-up information and assistance with tree care is provided by the Pima County Cooperative Extension).

During 2005 Operation Cool Shade program, 1,314 trees were distributed to 442 electric cooperative customers. Since 2000, a total of 9,258 trees have been distributed to 3,231 customers in Pima County, Arizona.

Given the average peak household consumption (July, August and September) of 7,263 kilowatt hours and the current rate of $0.09602 per KWh, the average projected savings for individual households participating in Operation Cool Shade for the three-month period is 1,453 kWh, with a dollar savings of $139.51 during that time. In terms of all 442 participating households for 2004, the projected savings is 642,226 kWh or $61,663 for the peak three-month summer period.

TriCo Electric Cooperative

John Begeman, urban horticulture agent, Pima County Cooperative Extension
The University of Arizona, 4210 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719
Tel: (520) 626-5161, FAX: (520) 626-5849

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