Trees in pots gathered to give out

For more than a decade, UniSource Energy Services has encouraged the planting of shade trees as a cool way to reduce energy use and preserve the environment.

Through UniSource’s Trees for You program, electric customers can receive rebates for the purchase of two qualified desert-adapted trees. The rebates are given in the form of a credit on your electric bill, up to $15 for each five-gallon or larger tree.

Depending on availability, customers can choose from a wide range of trees including Arizona ash and cypress, bottle tree, catclaw, several species of acacia, fern of the desert and southern live oak. Visit the Trees for You webpage to view a list of qualified shade trees.

UniSource also gives away free trees at several home shows and community events throughout the year.

The program is extremely popular with customers, who like the idea of saving energy and preserving the environment in a natural, sustainable way. Trees provide habitat for wildlife, help control erosion and storm runoff, absorb heat and clean the air by releasing oxygen.

“Our shade tree program has been so successful because our customers like beautifying their property and reducing energy costs by shading their homes in the summer,” said Michelle Dunn, Trees for You Program Manager. “The rebates UniSource offers also offsets the cost of improving their landscaping – which increases property value – and they’re doing something sustainable.”

Since the Trees for You program began in 2008, UniSource has contributed to the planting of almost 6,700 trees.

To maximize energy savings, trees should be planted within 15 feet of the south, east or west sides of your home or building. The best times to plant trees to encourage root development are early spring and late fall.