The energy savings from tree shade coincide with peak electricity demand during summer months, creating an opportunity for utilities to use tree protection policies as demand side management tools. We apply a quasi-experimental research design to identify the change in residential energy caused by tree removals using three unique micro-level datasets from Gainesville, Florida. These datasets include (i) a twelve year panel of monthly household electricity billing data for 30,000 homes serviced by Gainesville Regional Utility, (ii) city permit data that identify the timing and location of tree removals, and (iii) property appraisal data detailing structural building characteristics for each home. Results of a difference-in-difference model suggest that removing mature trees in urban setting significantly increases residential energy use. After a tree removal, households experience a 3 percent increase in average monthly utility consumption across the year. The treatment effect is largest during summer months, with an average electricity increase of 4 to 5 percent following a tree removal.


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