Operation Cool Shade

Support Increased Economic Opportunities and Improved Quality of Life in Rural America
Research Year: 

Studies show that proper shading of the home can reduce energy consumption by as much as 20 percent. In 2000 the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Pima County joined with Tri-Co Electric Cooperative to distribute shade trees to residents for energy conservation.

Description of Action: 

Tri-Co Electric Cooperative and Pima County Extension provided trees and training, respectively, to interested residents. A requirement of the program was that trees be planted in locations around the house to ensure maximum shading. The residents received training from Extension on correct placement, planting and care of trees. Master Gardeners were trained to conduct training for program participants on the correct selection, placement, planting and care of shade trees. Since the program began, eight Master Gardener volunteers have conducted four annual programs attended by nearly 200 participants. An additional four Master Gardeners have staffed a tree planting and care answer booth at the tree distribution day conducted by TriCo Electric Cooperative's headquarters in Marana, Arizona. Tri-Co employees conducted follow-up inspections to ensure that trees were planted in the pre-determined locations and that the trees remained in good health. (Follow-up information and assistance with tree care is provided by the Pima County Cooperative Extension.)


As a result of Operation Cool Shade in 2003, 1,469 trees were distributed to 509 electric cooperative customers. Since 2000, a total of 6,451 trees have been distributed to 2,265 customers in Pima County.

Studies have shown that proper shading can reduce home energy consumption by as much as 20 percent. Thus given the average peak household consumption (July, August and September) of 7,263 kilowatt hours and the current rate of $0.0953 per KWh, the average projected savings for individual households participating in Operation Cool Shade for the three-month period is 1,453 kWh, with a dollar savings of $138.47 during that time. In terms of all 475 participating households for 2003, the projected savings is 883,424 kWh or $65,773 for the peak three-month summer period.

Funding Agencies: 

TriCo Electric Cooperative

Conact Name: 
John Begeman
Contact E-mail: 
Contact Address: 

The University of Arizona

4210 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85719

Tel: (520) 626-5161, FAX: (520) 626-5849