Duke Energy Florida, in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation's Energy-Saving Trees program, gave away 2,500 free trees to its customers to honor Florida Arbor Day on Jan. 18.
Duke Energy Florida is investing $100,000 to purchase the trees and has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to distribute them. Duke Energy has participated in the program for three consecutive years. Since 2017, the company has given away more than 5,000 trees to customers throughout the state.
"Trees help conserve energy, they are beautiful additions to any yard, and they provide much-appreciated shade in the Sunshine State," says Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president. "We help customers plant the right tree in the right place so we can continue to provide safe and reliable energy. Our ongoing Energy-Saving Trees partnership, along with our recognition as a 'Tree Line USA' utility for 13 consecutive years, exemplifies our commitment to our customers and the environment."
Duke Energy customers statewide could request a free tree, in a one-gallon pot, online until all trees were distributed.
The Web site enabled a customer to insert his or her address and select the location on the property where the tree will be planted. The Web site then recommended which of the available tree species is best suited for that region. It also specified the planting location on the customer's property providing the most energy-saving benefits for the home.
The tree is then shipped directly to the customer's home in a box with planting and care instructions. The trees are expected to be delivered in time for National Arbor Day, April 26, 2019. Available tree species include the Eastern Redbud, Crape myrtle, Dahoon Holly, Florida Maple, Red Bottlebrush and Pineapple Pear.
The Arbor Day Foundation's Energy-Saving Trees and Tree Line USA programs demonstrate how trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and citizens by highlighting best management practices in public and private utility arboriculture.
Tree Line USA evaluates applicants, such as Duke Energy, based on several criteria, including their adherence to industry best practices for tree care, training of employees and contractors, implementation of public education and tree-planting projects and participation in annual Arbor Day events. Duke Energy Florida has been recognized for its tree management practices for 13 consecutive years.
For information about planning and planting vegetation around electrical facilities, please visit Duke Energy's Plan Before You Plant Web site.
According to the Florida Forest Service, Florida has one of the oldest Arbor Day celebrations in the nation, having held the statewide event on the third Friday in January every year since 1886. Meanwhile, National Arbor Day has been observed since 1872 on the last Friday in April. Both state and national Arbor Day activities promote the benefits of trees in urban environments and encourage tree planting and care.
For additional information, customers can visit the Web site.