Trees, as anyone who's ever sat under the shade of one sipping a lemonade in their own front yard can tell you, are a boon to your lifestyle, your curb appeal and your property value. But how much is that tree actually worth, in real, American dollars? It's really hard to put a price on pretty, but we found a website that wants to try.
The National Tree Benefit Calculator examines how a tree of a particular species located in a particular zip code affects cermain economic and environmental factors in the community. It's a not a precise tool, but it is a great starting point to understand how a certain type or size of tree might affect your bottom line.
Once you input your zip code and the species and diameter of your tree, the calculator spits out a comprehensive analysis of that tree's benefit to your home and the surrounding area in a few different areas:
- Property Values: Buyers are likely to pay more for a home with more trees and a higher Leaf Surface Area (LSA).
- Storm Water Runoff: Trees block and filter street chemicals from getting into streams, rivers and oceans.
- Energy Consumption: Trees offer natural shade and insulation from the elements, reducing your cooling and heating costs.
- Air Quality: Trees absorb pollutants like ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide through their leaves.
- Carbon Reduction: Tree's "lock up" CO2 in their roots, trunks, stems and leaves while they grow. Plus there's the reduction in a building's energy consumption, too.
I ran a quick analysis with my zip code in Atlanta and a type of tree I've seen in the neighborhood, and here are some of the results straight from the tree benefit calculator.
This 25 inch River birch provides overall benefits of: $194 every year.
If this tree is cared for and grows to 30 inches, it will provide $205 in annual benefits.
Your 25 inch River birch will intercept 6,466 gallons of stormwater runoff this year.
Located in front of a single family home, this 25 inch River birch will raise the property value by $90 this year. The 25 inch River birch you selected will add 466 square feet of LSA this year. In subsequent years it will add more, and the property value will increase accordingly.
Your 25 inch River birch will conserve 175 Kilowatt hours of electricity for cooling and reduce consumption of oil or natural gas by 6 therm(s).
This year your 25 inch River birch tree will reduce atmospheric carbon by 1,781 pounds.
So give it a try to learn a little more about that tree in your front yard and exactly what it offers your neighborhood, besides some great shade on a hot summer day. (Or, run the calculator with different varieties to discover what kind of tree would be best to plant when you plan your landscape.)
What did you discover about your trees?