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Ryerson develops online tool to calculate how much money that tree in your yard is saving you

Ryerson professor Andrew Millward thinks you need a tree in your yard.

He is so convinced, in fact, that he’s gone and developed a very seriously titled online tool, the Ontario Residential Tree Benefits Estimator, to convince you he’s right.

According to a paper the geography professor co-wrote, in which he and his team followed 577 trees to provide 25- and 40-year energy conservation projections, "each tree will save between 435 and 483 kWh per household -- equal to running a dishwasher once every day for an entire year. This can translate into a saving of upwards of $40 annually."

"Trees provide many social, economic and environmental benefits in addition to the energy conservation ones we highlight in our study," he says. "And they require an investment of time and care, especially in the first years following planting. Because large trees deliver the lion’s share of benefits, cities require a collective contribution/will/action to ensure we have large healthy trees in our cities. Tools, such as the estimator we have developed, help make the economic case for care and maintenance of trees."

Users of the tool choose their city, tree species and its location on the property to calculate their own real or potential savings.

The estimator was developed for 27 cities around Ontario, with coding by Nikesh Bhagat from Ryerson’s spatial analysis graduate program. According to Millward, the team -- which also includes Michelle Sawka, Janet MacKay, LEAF and Misha Sarkovich -- would be open to tailoring it for other cities around the country and the world.

Writer: Bert Archer
Source: Andrew Millward
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