Free trees offered to SJ residents

January 19, 2009 2:08:57 PM PST
The first 500 San Jose residents to apply to participate in an urban forest renewal program will get a free 5-gallon shade tree for their homes, and a reduced utility bill, according to organizers.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has partnered with Our City Forest, a nonprofit committed to the health and expansion of San Jose's urban forest, to initiate a "first-come, first-served" program called "Shade and Save."

The program is intended to utilize the power of shade to lower energy use and power costs during summer months. Organizers from PG&E and arborists from Our City Forest maintain that residential utility bills can be reduced by as much as 30 percent when trees are planted around homes, optimally placed to reduce heat so air conditioners don't have to work as hard.

Not only will "Shade and Save" participants receive a free tree and reduced summertime PG&E bill, but the program will provide for a crew to plant it and an arborist to ensure it gets planted in the best location.

To qualify, applicants must be residents of San Jose, PG&E customers and have a home with a central or window air conditioning unit.

Renters are encouraged to apply with homeowner consent.

Applications can be obtained by calling Our City Forest at (408) 998-7337 Ext. 121, or by visiting the organization online at