Tree donations rooted in energy savings, environmental commitment

You know what they say about April showers. Getting a chance to see spring wildflowers pop up is nice, but this week’s rain is providing much-needed nourishment to more than the bluebonnets. The Edward’s Aquifer got a nice boost during our current drought and so have the trees!

Today is National Arbor Day and we’re happy to be part of improving our city’s tree canopy. We’ve been donating trees and educating our community about caring for the shade providers for 20 years. In fact, our efforts helped the City of San Antonio become designated a Tree City USA in 2016.

Tree City USA is a national program that recognizes communities for their efforts to preserve, maintain, and grow tree canopy. Each year, we work with the City of San Antonio, SAWS, and non-profit organizations to meet the four standards of the environmental commitment. The Arbor Day Foundation sponsors the program in partnership with the U.S. Forest Services and National Association of State Foresters.

Today is not only Arbor Day, but it’s also the final day we’re offering our Green Shade Tree Rebate. If you purchased a qualifying tree between October and today, don’t forget to apply for the rebate! Since 2010, we’ve issued more than 8,000 rebates to residential and commercial customers who purchased and planted qualified trees. That’s a lot of native tree species growing in our community.

Although today is the last day of the program, don’t worry. We’ll offer the seasonal $50 rebate again in October. You might wonder why we offer the rebate. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses.

Branching out to new ways of donating trees during pandemic

Texas Redbud
Texas Redbud is one of several native species of trees that we donate.

Strongly rooted trees are known to endure and weather storms. Same goes for us! Despite the pandemic, we’ve found new ways to get our customers trees and benefit the environment. Last Saturday, we joined the City in handing out more than 260 trees to our customers at the annual Earth Day event at Woodlawn Lake. Since last year, the City hasn’t been able to host the large Fiesta event. Instead, we’ve supported their drive-thru tree event to provide a safe and healthy alternative to giving away trees. This year, we gave away four different species of trees, including Texas Red Buds, Chinquapin Oak, Pecan and Eve’s Necklace.

Heath Bentley, a CPS Energy Environmental Analyst who coordinates our tree donation efforts, said these trees will provide many benefits for our environment and community.

“More trees help improve air quality,” said Heath. “They provide soil stabilization and reduce storm water run-off. Trees also provide natural habitat and support the local eco-system – birds, bees, butterflies, squirrels.”

Along with improving local habitat, we’re enhancing the quality of life for customers who become new homeowners through Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio. Check out this story of how we helped this single mom plant roots as Habitat’s 1,000th homeowner.

Over the years, we’ve made it our priority to maintain a strong environmental commitment while simultaneously serving the energy needs of our growing community. We’re dedicated to improving our air quality, recycling nearly all our materials, and preserving natural resources for future generations. I guess you could say we’re rooted in being Environmentally Responsible.

See our Environmental Sustainability & Stewardship Report to get a full picture of how we care for our environment.

Sam Taylor

Sam is part of the Corporate Communications team at CPS Energy.