As the sun beats down on homes, residents turn on their air conditioners.
Those energy hog air conditioners can make electric bills go sky high. But those costs could be avoided by planting a shade tree or two, Turlock Irrigation District representatives say.
“Shade trees are another tool that customers can use to curb their home's energy consumption,” said TID spokesperson Herb Smart. “Some estimates from the Department of Energy show that a properly planted shade tree can cool a home by as much as 9 degrees Fahrenheit. The biggest customer benefit of shade trees is the potential to use air conditioning units less during the warmer months.”
As part of its efforts to improve energy efficiency districtwide, TID will sell discounted shade trees for $20 each, including a planting kit, at a special event next week. The trees have a retail value of $68.
The trees will be available at the district's Premier Shade Tree Event, to be held from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, on Mar. 16 at TID's nursery, located at 690 N. First St. in Turlock.
“We have 300 trees available for the event and are hopeful that our residential electric customers take advantage of getting trees and planting kits for about a third of what it would cost to purchase them anywhere else,” Smart said.
Available shade trees include Bloodgood Sycamores, October Glory Maples, Chinese Pistaches, and Trident Maples. Each tree has different growth rates and patterns, with some growing to more than 46 feet in height.
According to TID, the trees can also lower winter heating bills by blocking some wind during cooler months.
The offer is only available to residential electric customers who plan to plant the trees on the south, east, or west side of their home.
Trees must be planted within 15 feet of a home's foundation. No homeowner may purchase more than two trees, and limited quantities are available.
Applicants must fill out an application to qualify for the trees, available at the event or online at www.tid.com/shade-tree.