Arbor Day Foundation
Oncor’s Energy-Saving Trees Program
What the Judges Said…
“It’s hard to fault a program that not only provides trees, but a website for planning their placement on a property and metrics for future environmental benefits.”
Oncor Electric Delivery is the largest transmission and distribution electric utility in Texas. To connect with their mission of caring about their communities and the environment, Oncor completed its fifth consecutive year of partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees program.
In the fall of 2017, Oncor gave away 8,500 free trees to customers in the Texas service area. The goal of the program is to show how trees can help save homeowners money on their energy bills. These trees help reduce energy use and provide other environmental and community benefits.
Customers reserved free trees through the Energy-Saving Trees website. Through this process, the homeowner can view a property map and use interactive software to identify the ideal location to plant a tree for maximum energy and environmental benefits, as well as avoiding utility lines. The trees get tracked through the software, which uses iTree technology and scientific US Forest Service research to provide metrics. The software also calculates environmental benefits as the tree matures, such as cleaner air and less storm water runoff.
The Arbor Day Foundation worked with a local nursery to grow trees specifically for the Oncor program. The Foundation also created a custom tree reservation website for Oncor customers. Through the partnership, 8,000 one-gallon size trees were distributed. Oncor promoted the program in a press release to local media outlets in the Texas service area that detailed the tree selections and how customers could enroll. Once customers reserved their one-gallon trees, they were mailed directly to the customers’ doorsteps. Oncor also held a tree distribution event in Tyler, Texas, that offered 500 larger trees to residents.
Through the all-inclusive program, the Arbor Day Foundation manages the logistics of the program: buying and shipping the trees, a custom website, metrics, reports, marketing materials, and call center support. The software component is another valued feature, according to the organization.
In the five years that Oncor has participated in the Energy-Saving Trees program, they have engaged 22,873 homeowners and distributed 43,242 trees. Oncor’s trees are projected to provide $10,865,684 in electric savings through shade, filter 867,009,704 gallons of storm water, sequester 196,216,467 pounds of carbon, and absorb 546,840 pounds of air pollutants. Collectively, these trees will provide a total of $22,975,467 in community benefits, the Arbor Day Foundation says.