Trees help Texas communities conserve water, energy

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Jan. 7, 2014 -- Cities and businesses across Texas are playing an important role in developing green, tree-filled communities, conserving water and energy in the process.

An underground framework called Silva Cell provides soil access to support long-term tree growth in cities like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, where the development of green spaces might have previously seemed impossible.

"Communities can benefit from planting large, mature trees in a variety of ways, regardless of whether the trees are planted at shopping centers, businesses or at parks," said Graham Ray, CEO of DeepRoot, makers of the Silva Cell. "Trees lead to lower vacancy rates in business developments and help create a strong sense of community. They are also great for managing heat and stormwater. The Silva Cell adds even greater benefits by delivering these green infrastructure benefits in urban environments."

The Silva Cell has long been used by designers on project sites where there is a desire to plant and maintain large trees but there is limited space for open planters due to paving. The soil contained in the Silva Cell system creates what is essentially an underground raingarden, capturing stormwater that falls on the site using the soil, tree roots, and tree canopy. Depending on the size and design of the system, thousands of gallons of water can be prevented from entering overwhelming or polluting sewers, creeks and adjacent watersheds.

Five Silva Cell installations have already been installed by companies and municipalities in Texas, and the company says more are in the pipeline for 2014. The projects have varied in scope and in use. They include:

*Dallas, TX -- At Tony Tasset Park, modern art installations like a 30 foot tall eyeball are joined by 10 large, green trees. Rather than create a blighted property after a building was demolished, the city looked for an innovative solutions to quickly create a green, welcoming space for tourists and residents alike. The location is now a destination. Over time, the trees will grow in size and continue to serve as a perfect backdrop for new art installations.

*Houston, TX -- Outside of Houston, a large oil company has set up its global headquarters. In the process, it has also created a green, tree-filled space for employees and visitors. Using the Silva Cell, the company hopes to save money on water and to manage the heat in the summertime. Given Houston's large amount of rainfall, they are also looking forward to having the 121 trees assist in managing stormwater in the winter.

*San Antonio, TX -- The historic Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, Texas has also gotten in on the green action. The site was remodeled to contain new businesses, restaurants and an outdoor promenade. Ten Eyck Architects, based in Austin, embraced the challenge to make the exterior more green. Thanks to its use of DeepRoot technology, the site has a total of 662 trees on the LEED gold certified property. These trees are contributing to stormwater management and are an important part of making the shopping destination more welcoming.

*Fort Worth, TX -- The Sundance Square is a 35-block office, retail and entertainment development in downtown Fort Worth which was completed in early November, 2013. The landscape architects who developed the one-acre promenade valued keeping the community green while also preserving water and the local watershed. The Silva Cell allowed them to plant 18 trees in the location.

"When we started looking for opportunities to collaborate on green projects across the United States, we immediately wanted to focus on Texas," said Brenda Guglielmina, the account manager at DeepRoot who worked on these projects. "We saw the momentum in the state around green initiatives like wind and energy and decided to tap into the strong desire to be more environmentally conscious and to be more conservative in terms of water usage. We're excited to build on our efforts in the years ahead."

As states look to alternative solutions to attract revenue and to maximize green resources, Texas is showing what can be done through simple technology that can aid in creating sustainable, tree-filled communities. The new approach that the state is taking is leading to economic, ecological and community benefits to local residents.

To learn more about the Silva Cell, please visit: http://bit.ly/silvacell

About DeepRoot: For nearly 40 years, DeepRoot has helped cities, contractors and communities find solutions that help them build the livable cities that they desire. Our mission is to create a more livable built environment by using green infrastructure like trees, soil, and on-site stormwater management. With locations in the U.S., Canada and the UK, we are expanding solutions to enhance urban landscapes in city streets, parking lots, campuses, and other heavily-paved areas. Learn more at DeepRoot's new website, www.deeproot.com

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