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Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Tree Shade, Microclimate, Wind Shielding, Northeast
Most scientific studies concerning energy conservation benefits of trees have been completed in cooling dominated climates or have involved model-based engineering studies. An infestation of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) (anoplophora glabripennis) has initiated an extensive tree removal program in Worcester, Massachusetts. A June 1, 2011 tornado in Springfield, Massachusetts has damaged a randomized sample of the urban canopy cover in Springfield. These events provide natural, controlled experiments to quantify the energy use impact of trees in real-world settings. Large-scale tree removal and natural disasters completely transform the landscape. Due to the reduction in shade, near-ground temperature increase is substantial. With the trees gone, the increased velocity of cold winter winds is noticeable for neighborhood residents. Tree removal due to ALB infestation in two residential neighborhoods in Worcester, Massachusetts in the winter of 2008-2009 resulted in a 37% increase (t = -9.09, p<0.001) in baseline-corrected, weather-normalized electrical consumption from the 2008 to 2009 cooling seasons. In Springfield, Massachusetts we find no difference in baseline-corrected, weather-normalized natural gas consumption for the heating season for individual homes after the June 1, 2011 tornado. The results of this research will aid in the development and implementation of energy conserving treeplanting and retention programs and policies pursuant to the Clean Energy and Climate Change Plan of 2010 in Massachusetts.
Benjamin S. Weil
Simi T. Hoque