May 17, 2021 /
Jona Elwell

What are DC’s Trees Worth?

We often talk about trees in terms of the beauty they bring to our spaces and cities. Especially in the spring and summer, it’s easy to focus on the magic of beautiful blooms and the relief of shade. But urban trees are so much more than a pretty face, and they really and truly help residents, businesses, and the city save money. 

Most of these stats came from the comprehensive and informative i-Tree Eco Report. We need your help to make DC a sustainable city with an impressive canopy. Learn more about our impressive canopy through our quick, online Your City, Your Trees classes. Please become a member and support all our endeavors from plantings, inventories, classes, TreeWise youth program, watering, and more. 

So here are (some!) the quantifiable impact of DC’s trees:

Save Energy: As we mentioned, trees provide shade that feels good and does some good. Urban trees save District residents and businesses a cool $3.5 million annually in energy costs.

Absorb Stormwater: Trees absorb stormwater runoff, reducing erosion and pollution in our waterways. A healthy tree canopy means cleaner rivers and less investment in costly infrastructure. Each year DC’s trees filter 44,274,580 cubic feet of water. That’s equal to about 500 Olympic size swimming pools!

Create Healthier and Safer Communities: Green spaces help residents combat stress, anxiety, and depression. It’s shown that tree-lined streets have a traffic calming effect, which keeps drivers and pedestrians safe. Also, exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue. Every year DC’s trees remove 870,000 pounds of pollutants from the air. And thank goodness for that because 15.5 percent of DC residents have asthma, which is above the national average of 13.5 percent.