Picture of the neighborhood modeled is attached, credit is University of British Columbia.

When it comes to designing an energy-efficient city, think green. Even a single, leafless tree can serve as a significant windbreak for pedestrians. But, more importantly, trees also block wind pressure on buildings which helps keep heating costs down, according to a study published in the journal Advances in Water Resources.

Why it matters: Everyone knows a windy day feels cooler than a still one – the same is true for buildings. As much as one-third of a building's heat loss and energy consumption can be caused by wind pressure. Past models and observational studies have shown how trees impact wind in cities, but this is the first time scientists have simulated the effects in a real, replicated neighborhood.

What they did: The scientists created a computer model of Vancouver that included every building and tree. They modeled airflow around the buildings in three scenarios: one with leafy summer trees, leafless winter trees, and no trees at all.

"Using our model, we found that removing all the trees around buildings drove up the building's energy consumption by as much as 10% in winter and 15% in summer," said Marco Giometto, a civil engineer at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and an author on the study.

The bottom line: Trees make a difference in cities even in the wintertime. Even bare winter branches reduced pressure on the buildings, the research showed.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 12,220,166 — Total deaths: 553,438 — Total recoveries — 6,696,632Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 3,111,902 — Total deaths: 133,195 — Total recoveries: 969,111 — Total tested: 38,032,966Map.
  3. Public health: More young people are spreading the virus Cases rise in 33 statesFlorida reports highest single-day death toll since pandemic began.
  4. Science: World Health Organization acknowledges airborne transmission of coronavirus.
  5. 1 🐂 thing: How the world could monitor for potential pandemic animal viruses.
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Inside Joe Biden's economic plan

Joe Biden on Thursday returned to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to give his first major speech on economic policy since becoming the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Axios Re:Cap digs into Biden's plans, how they developed and how they may change, with former U.S. Commerce secretary and campaign surrogate Penny Pritzker.

2 hours ago - World

Countries grapple with whether to lock back down as hotspots emerge

Tokyo in the time of coronavirus. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty

Many politicians and public health officials sounded a similar lockdown refrain in the spring: let’s do this right so we only have to do it once.

Reality check: While some countries have thus far managed to keep cases under control after opening up, dozens of countries that had initially turned a corner are now seeing a worrying rebound. They have to decide if and how to return to lockdown — and whether their populations will stand for it.