Tree Care

3. Expanding the Urban Forest and Saving Energy

Washington DC needs 40,000 more acres of healthy tree cover to meet climate goals and federal air and clean water agreements. Residential yards are among the most promising available land for new canopy. In addition, siting new trees correctly near buildings reduces energy use.  When building owners reduce energy use, power plants can lower emissions and fight global warming.

How to plant trees to save energy

diagram showing how to situate trees near buildings to save heat and cooling costs

Click to enlarge | Click to view/download pdf


For most shade, plant trees on the southwestern and western sides of buildings.

Plant on southeastern and southern sides for shade from morning sun.

Evergreen trees on northwest and northern side can shelter building from winter wind.

Guidance for planting near a home or other building

Also see Partnering with the City and More Resources.

* Key:
DCMR = DC Code of Municipal Regulations. DC Act 14-614 = Tree Law of 2003.
PRDM = Public Realm Design Manual, DC Office of Planning, 2011.
Foreign Missions Act = 22 USC. See ¶ 4306 (g).