Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



Many small communities have tree cover that was planted without the benefit of the knowledge of proper tree location and energy efficiency that we now have. This project examined the tree cover of three small communities in the Northern Great Plains [Murdo, North Eagle Butte, and South Eagle Butte, South Dakota] in order to determine their solar efficiency. Solar efficiency is defined as the amount of solar energy intercepted by tree canopies during the winter and summer, which affects heating and cooling energy use. This efficiency is dependent on tree locations in relation to homes and other buildings. Many people do not realize that deciduous trees can block forty percent as much solar energy during the winter as they block during the summer. Unlike southern regions, the Northern Great Plains experiences a high number of heating degree days in addition to cooling degree days, hence, tree locations (shading) become critical. This study should give an idea of how solar efficient small communities are in the Northern Great Plains, and how this situation could be improved.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Trees in cities -- South Dakota
Solar energy



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright