For builders across the nation who are turning their attention to designing “green”, environmentally friendly building projects, there is a tree for those project sites. It’s the disease-resistant American Liberty Elm.
Standards for green building have been developed by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) a project of the U.S. Green Building Council, which promotes “buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.” Both new and existing buildings are included in LEED’s scope.
By using green methods, builders can earn credits toward LEED certification, which recognizes leadership in the green building industry. Certified builders can qualify for state and local government incentives.
Among many green building goals, LEED emphasizes development of high performance sustainable buildings, energy efficiency, water savings, and reduction of “heat islands” through landscape and exterior design. That’s where the American Liberty Elm, propagated by the nonprofit Elm Research Institute (ERI), Keene, NH comes in.
Sustainable Design- “Because elms are long lived, this tree is a sustainable design,” says ERI founder John P. Hansel. “And it will grow to be large, so one elm will fill a landscape space that otherwise would require several smaller and perhaps short-lived tree.” Elms can live to be 200 to 300 years old.
Energy Reduction- American Liberty Elms will have a 60 to 65 ft. spread at maturity, producing a wide area of shade and reducing air condiitioning costs. (Elms are rapid growers.) In winter, the tree is leafless, allowing warm sunlight to reach buildings. The canopy is high enough that it doesn’t hide a building’s architecture. Imagine the shade it will provide when planted on a main street in front of a business…then think of the money saved in air conditioning costs.