Branford Town Tree Plantings Offset Carbon Emissions
The Branford Community Forest Commission (CFC) with the Department of Public Works plants approximately 50 trees per year on town property. During 2020, that total was 55.
Patrick Sweeney of the CFC and Environment Commissions said that, "...planting new native trees and ensuring the well-being of those we already have is one of the most important things that the town can do for our environment and the health of our residents."
Residential and urban trees have numerous public health benefits, such as reducing stress, body mass index, noise, the heat island effect, and pollution. In addition to providing a large proportion of the air that we breathe, trees provide erosion control, food and habitat for wildlife (which is why we plant native species), and climate change mitigation via carbon sequestration. Over their predicted lifetime, this year's planting will sequester 422 tons of carbon. This is equivalent to the carbon produced by over 80 typical passenger vehicles in a single year.
The Clean Energy Ad Hoc Committee is also working to decrease our carbon emissions in several areas, most recently initiating a HeatSmart campaign for Branford residents to save money, improve air quality and decrease their carbon footprint. The first step is a utility sponsored home energy audit (free until March 31, 2021), followed by an opportunity to electrify using air heat pumps and/or solar (sign up at www.HeatSmartBranfordCT.org ).
Shirley McCarthy of the CFC on and the Clean Energy Ad Hoc Committee said that "Branford can thereby support the state's goals of decreasing greenhouse gases."
Branford is the first town in CT to conduct a HeatSmart campaign. Neighboring states have conducted such a campaign with successful outcomes.