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Shade trees cool Tucson air base, grow national program.

A LARGE-SCALE RESEARCH project showing how shade trees and light-colored surfaces can substantially reduce the amount of energy used for cooling homes and communities was initiated by AMERICAN FORESTS and many of its Cool Communities cooperators last November in a residential area on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.

Two hundred and seventy-five trees were strategically planted to shade 104 residences in the Palo Verde neighborhood from hot afternoon sun. Energy-monitoring devices and weather stations will record direct and indirect environmental improvements from the project, which will expand to a total of 1,400 residences in the neighborhood during the five-year project.

"The information generated here will be of enormous help in shaping healthy, livable neighborhoods well into the next century. The Palo Verde project appears destined to become an environmental research classic," AMERICAN FORESTS' Neil Sampson said at the dedication ceremony.

Also participating in the Tucson ceremony were 355th Wing Commander Brigadier General Lansford E. Trapp Jr.; Tucson Electric Power president and CEO Charles E. Bayless; Michael Stenburg, a senior policy advisor for the Environmental Protection Agency; Cool Communities' local advisory committee members, and other base officials and residents.

"We are very proud to be the first military installation participating in this joint endeavor with AMERICAN FORESTS. This program not only improves the quality of life for military residents and saves energy, but will also provide civilian communities with information for their use in tree-planting programs," Trapp said.

Planting sites for each of the trees--a mix of low-water-use species appropriate to the ecosystem--were located using aerial photographs that were converted to a computer-mapping format. Scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories, the U.S. Forest Service, and the University of Arizona are conducting research at the site.

As the trees grow, residents should experience significant reductions in home air-conditioning energy use, requiring the burning of less coal in TEP's nearby power plant and the production of less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Information gained from the multi-year project will help guide the national expansion of the Cool Communities program, part of the Clinton Administration's recently released Climate Change Action Plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in the United States.
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Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Smith, Dan
Publication:American Forests
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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