fbpx Dollars and sense | The Morton Arboretum

Dollars and sense

Here are some ways trees help our bottom line:

Experts suggest that every dollar invested in tree planting and management returns up to 500%. Trees provide important benefits with economic value, such as reduced energy costs associated with heating and cooling, increased home and real estate values, enhanced consumer satisfaction, and life-sustaining shelter and nourishment. 

Trees reduce heating and cooling bills by saving energy. The right tree can lead to reduced energy use, lowering the cost of utility bills by naturally cooling a home during the summer months and providing shelter from cold in the winter months. For example, evergreens that block winter winds can save 3% on heating. This reduction also means that fewer greenhouse gases need to be produced in generating power.

Trees increase home values. Homes in neighborhoods with mature trees sell for at least 10% more than in neighborhoods without trees. On average, each large front yard tree adds 1% to a house’s sales price and large trees can add up to 10% to the property value. Trees and quality landscaping have also been shown to increase rental rates for office buildings. And the presence of shade trees reduces the rate of wear and tear on roads and pavement surfaces, keeping infrastructure repair costs down. 

Trees are good for business. Research shows that shoppers respond to the overall aesthetics of their shopping experience; they will travel farther to shop in tree-lined business districts and tend to spend more time and money once they are there. In tree-lined commercial districts, shoppers report more frequent shopping, longer shopping trips, and willingness to spend 12% more for goods.

Trees pay us back. The many contributions of trees have substantial economic benefits. Each year, the more than 157 million trees in the seven-county Chicago region provide services that have an estimated total worth of $195 million by capturing air pollution, storing carbon, and reducing energy costs. Urban street trees provide invaluable resources to communities, helping them to survive and thrive, even in areas of economic scarcity. In New York City, 88% of public tree species can be foraged for either food or medicinal use, including nine out of ten of the most common tree species.