ecoSmart Landscapes

Website

Registration is required but free: http://www.ecosmartlandscapes.org/

Download previous version at http://www.fs.fed.us/ccrc/topics/urban-forests/ctcc/

Purpose

To calculate carbon dioxide sequestration and avoided emissions from building energy savings provided by up to 9 trees per residence.

Output

Tables and graphs that describe the amount of CO2 sequestered each year, the total CO2 stored, and avoided CO2 emissions from heating and cooling for the specified trees.

Developed by

U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) Urban and Community Forestry Program, and EcoLayers

Format

Online interface with downloadable graphs and Excel files (Previous beta-version released as downloadable software).

Geography

California (planning expansion to United States)

Scale (range)

Individual tree to 9 trees

Training requirement

1 (on a scale of 1-3). Minimal time investment, < 2 hours

Status

Released for public use after beta-testing. The underlying tool equations have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Potential Applications

Estimating the carbon benefits of urban and neighborhood trees, projecting benefits of planting projects, planning urban forestry and landscape projects.

Caveats, Restrictions

Registering to use ecoSmart Landscapes provides user access to the calculations that quantify tree size and growth, carbon sequestration, and energy savings. Major assumptions behind these calculations are also provided. The current beta release of the tool includes all California climate zones: data for the remainder of the U.S are planned but are not yet available. The tool can be used with a PC only on Chrome, Firefox, or IE9 or greater.

Overview & Applicability

This tool can help members of the public, cities and other organizations estimate the carbon and energy impacts of trees. EcoSmart Landscapes Public is intended for residential property owners, while ecoSmart Landscapes Enterprise is for planning and management of carbon offset projects by organizations such as utilities, campuses, and municipalities.

The online tools provide quantitative data on carbon dioxide sequestration and building heating/cooling energy savings afforded by individual trees. Results can be used to estimate the greenhouse gas benefits of existing trees, to forecast future benefits, and to facilitate planning and management of carbon offset  projects.

Carbon calculations are based on methodology approved by the Climate Action Reserve's Urban Forest Project Protocol. This software allows organizations to integrate public tree planting programs into their carbon offset or urban forestry programs.

Future releases of ecoSmart Landscapes will include data for the entire U.S., as well as assessment tools for stormwater runoff reduction from rainfall interception by trees and soil infiltration, water conservation, and fire risk to buildings.

Map interface: COLE draws from Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data to provide basic carbon inventory and growth-and-yield estimates for a particular forest, region, or state. ecoSmart Landscapes: Use EcoSmart Landscapes to calculate energy savings and carbon sequestration on a selected property of interest.

 

History

EcoSmart Landscapes began as the CUFR Tree Carbon Calculator (CTCC), developed in 2008  as a downloadable program in an Excel spreadsheet. The current version of ecoSmart was released in 2012 as a web-based tool with added functionality for the state of California climate zones. There are plans to release similar online functionality for the broader U.S. It was developed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, and EcoLayers.

Future releases are planned that include assessment tools for additional ecosystem services related to urban tree planting.

Inputs and outputs

Input

Homeowners are asked to provide an address, and identify and mark the property outline and building of interest (e.g. a residential home) using a Google Maps interface. Users are then asked to:

  • Mark the locations of trees on the property and/or
  • Mark the locations where they wish to plant trees on the property
  • Enter information on the species and size of each existing tree. Size is requested in diameter at breast height (dbh) or height or
  • Users may outline the crown of the tree and the program will estimate dbh based on crown size
Output

With the information given, the tool produces a variety of summary and detailed tables and charts. Users may select which of these tables or charts to view and/or download. Information in these reports includes:

  • Aboveground biomass for individual trees or the set of selected trees (lbs)
  • Total amount of CO2 stored in each tree or set of trees (lbs)
  • CO2 sequestered per year for each tree or set of trees. (lbs)
  • Amount of energy used for heating and cooling the building, with and without the selected trees (BTUs)
  • CO2 emissions avoided from heating and cooling, given the selected trees (lbs).

Restrictions and limitations

There are a number of assumptions that go into calculating tree size and growth for multiple species and estimating carbon sequestration and energy savings. Registering to use ecoSmart Landscapes gives a user access to the calculations and the assumptions used in the process under the "˜references" tab.  The current beta release of the tool includes all California climate zones:  data for the remainder of the U.S are planned for future releases. The tool can be used with a PC only on Chrome, Firefox, or IE9 or greater.

Accessing the tool and additional information.

Registration is required to use the tool, but EcoSmart Landscapes Public is free of charge. Access the Portal at http://www.ecosmartlandscapes.org/