Post Content

Ted Dobbin

Ted Dobbin

Clean Energy Fellow, Department of Energy Resources (DOER)

View Ted's Bio

Following the devastation of last year’s tornadoes, which destroyed an estimated 4,000 trees, Springfield residents decided to step up to the plate and rebuild their neighborhoods. ReGreen Springfield created the Tree Planting Initiative, which has made tremendous progress in its efforts to restore vibrancy to Springfield, Massachusetts.  During the project’s initial phase, there were over 800 trees planted in tornado affected neighborhoods using $385,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds directed by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Due to the initiative’s incredible success, DOER allocated an additional $125,000 of ARRA funding to expand efforts as part of its ReBuild Western Massachusetts program. This allowed for a total of 300 more plantings, bumping up the total to 1,140 trees.

Trees provide far East Forest Park Trees-ReBuildWMAmore than a respite from the mid-afternoon sun. From off-setting carbon emissions, to reducing the Heat Island Effect (a build-up of thermal energy in urban spaces), trees are a multi-faceted tool for remedying environmental problems. Trees trap carbon dioxide, one of the major contributing greenhouse gases, and release oxygen into the environment. They can help to reduce urban runoff and erosion, absorb sound and noise pollution, and reduce airborne dust levels. During the summer months, the shade created by healthy trees can help to decrease cooling demands in nearby households and reduce ambient air temperature across neighborhoods. Alternatively, trees can serve as windbreaks for buildings during the winter months and help cut home heating costs for affected homeowners.

These inherent traits are all well and good, but dare I say it, the personal significance of trees should not be overlooked. Whether it’s the maple tree in the front yard whose branches you swung through as a child or the giant oak that you carved your initials in, a tree is more than a carbon dioxide sponge. For many of us, they represent the idea of “home,” or a time in one’s life. A time when everything was simpler, and it felt safe to catch fireflies in the backyard beneath that old apple tree on a balmy summer evening. 
IMG_5961
Springfield’s Tree Planting Initiative has helped replace some of these anchors of time and memory lost in the storms of last summer. Excuse the sappiness (and this pun), but I hope these newly planted trees will provide the families of Springfield with a lifetime of new memories.

ReGreen Springfield's efforts are profiled on its Facebook page.

Written By:

Tags: , , , ,

Recent Posts

Banking on Residential Solar Power posted on Sep 16

Banking on Residential Solar Power

“It’s a house, it’s a car, it’s a … solar panel?” In the coming months, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) is hoping a new residential solar loan program will spark that question and interest in renewable power at local lending institutions across the Commonwealth.   …Continue Reading Banking on Residential Solar Power

Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything posted on Sep 5

Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything

The American Council for Energy Efficient-Economy (ACEEE) selected me to present a paper on the Commonwealth’s Green Communities Program at ACEEE’s Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. It felt like going to college – the seniors all knew each other, while the freshmen were   …Continue Reading Building Efficiency Gurus Exchange Ideas on Just About Everything

Comparing Homes – Energy-Saving Enters the Equation posted on Aug 28

Comparing Homes – Energy-Saving Enters the Equation

Until recently, there was no way to easily figure energy efficiency into a home buying decision. Enter HomeMPG, a Massachusetts energy-saving initiative to pilot an energy performance score (EPS) in residential homes. This “asset” rating that’s analogous to a car’s MPG rating. Behavior is taken out of the equation so that any home’s energy use can be compared to any other home, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison.