Background

A lot of you have read about my various projects (building a backyard wind turbine, for instance). What I haven’t gone into much detail about is my “whole system” approach to minimizing my carbon footprint, saving energy, working with nature (rather than against it), and making my home and yard a more comfortable place to live.

I’ve replaced almost all my incandescent lighting with compact fluorescent (CFL), and am in the early stages of replacing my CFL lighting with LED lighting.

As my major appliances age and need to be replaced I’m buying the most energy efficient appliances that I can afford (clothes washer, dish washer, oven/range, microwave, and computer have all been completed so far).

We turn out lights when we leave the room. We don’t leave doors/windows open in the colder months, and try to leave windows open in the warmer months.

We increased our attic insulation from R35 to R58+ and set our heating thermostat to 67 degrees F during the day and 65 once we’re all in bed.

Growing Shade

Knowing that deciduous trees provide shade in the summer, but let the sunlight through in the winter, I purchased some hardy Emerald Maple trees which I planted in my park-strip (the area between the street curb and the sidewalk). I had long been impressed with the way some streets in Kaysville, Utah and Brigham City, Utah look when driving down the lined with “boulevard trees” on both sides.

Boulevard trees provide shade to buildings, sidewalks, and black asphalt roads. They absorb heat and carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. They provide a habitat to numerous species of wildlife, including birds. Streets lined with trees can regularly be 10 degrees F lower than ambient temperatures, and have been known to be 20 degrees lower at times. You can’t discount the nostalgia that driving through a “tunnel of trees” gives to both residents and visitors.

I decided to plant three Maple trees in my park strip to try and shade my front-yard, sidewalk, and street in front of my house. At the time, I was aware of a City Municipal Code restriction in the type of trees that could be planted in the park strip (Golden Raintree, Lavelle Hawthorn, English Hawthorn, Bechhtel Crabapple, Redbud Crabapple, Dorothea Crabapple, Japanese Crabapple, Radiant Crabapple, Snow drift Crabapple, Scarlet Hawthorn, Golden Chain Tree, Rocky Maple, Paperbark Maple, Bigtooth Maple, Kwanzan Cherry, Eastern Redbud, Globe Norway Maple, Bradford Pear, and Golden Rain, according to http://www.syracuseut.com/files/page_text/Title%2010.pdf as downloaded 1/22/2009).

I went to the local nursery and picked up three Maple trees, planted them, and went on my way. Unfortunately, they are Emerald Maple (the only Maple the nursery had at the time), which I’ve come to find out are not on the approved list.

Subsequently, I’ve also purchased and planted several River Birch trees and planted them in my front-yard, to provide shade directly to my home in the summer.

Image001The first week in November I received a letter from the Syracuse City Forester, Jason Van Ausdal informing me that the trees in the “park strip area of [my] property”  “are not in compliance” with City Code and gave me “until April 1, 2009 … to remove all nonconforming trees from the public right of way found between the curb and sidewalk.”

<p></p>  <h3>Free Trees</h3>  <p>If you, or anyone you know, would like up-to three Emerald Maple trees, free of charge, please <a href="http://www.joelevi.com/blog/index.php/contact/" target="_blank">contact me</a> and arrange a time to dig them.</p>  <p>If they’re not removed by the first of April they’re going to become kindling – which I’d rather not do.

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