Planting energy savings one tree at a time
Have you heard the myth that utility companies want to get rid of all the trees? Well, it's not true in OEC's case. In fact, we encourage our members to plant as many trees as they'd like, as long as the trees are planted in the proper location in conjunction with electric lines — they even help you save money on your electric bill.
As one of only two Tree Line USA Utility electric co-ops in Oklahoma, OEC partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation in April to give away trees to 100 members who signed up online. Daniel Lofland, OEC's energy efficiency and solutions specialist, offered tips on how to maximize the benefits of a strategically placed tree.
"First, look up. If there are overhead power lines where you are wanting to plant a tree that could grow to be 20 feet tall, plant it at least 10 feet away from that line," he suggested. "Also, it is extremely important to call Okie to have all underground lines located before you plant a tree of any kind. Any costs from damage incurred without having lines located first is on the homeowner."
The direction your home faces plays a critical role in deciding where to plant trees. In which rooms in your home do you spend most summer afternoons? Consider planting trees to shade those windows from the hot summer sun.
"This is a great time of year to determine where to plant trees next fall and spring simply by surveying your property and pinpointing which windows would benefit best from being shaded," Lofland said. "Again, be sure to call Okie (811) to ensure you don't hit a line when digging, and check one more time to make sure the tree won't interfere with overhead power lines."
For more information and a full tree planting guide, visit the tree trimming and vegetation management page at www.okcoop.org.