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City trees save heating costs

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.