CubeSmart, a publicly traded self-storage real estate investment trust and third-party management firm, has planted more than 90,000 trees across America through its "Plant a Tree" program in partnership with American Forests. The trees have directly helped restore vulnerable ecosystems and endangered habitats in 13 unique ecosystems, according to a company press release. These 90,000 trees will keep 450 tons of pollution out of the air every year and store 2,200 tons of carbon in their trunks and limbs annually, the release stated.
CubeSmart has worked with American Forests since 2010. When reserving a storage unit with the company, customers can opt to plant a tree as part of their transaction. For each customer who opts in, CubeSmart makes a donation to American Forests' Global ReLeaf program to plant a native tree at no cost to the tenant.
"We are able to celebrate this milestone thanks to our customers' commitment to the environment and our strong partnership with American Forests. We are pleased to contribute to restoring ecosystems and habitats all over the country while making a difference in air quality and reducing carbon pollution for years to come," said Christopher P. Marr, CEO and president of CubeSmart.
American Forests designates specific locations for these plantings, which have included the following amounts and sites:
- 15,133 trees in the Bugaboo Wildfire Rehabilitation project in Florida
- 9,167 trees in the Blowdown Reforestation project in Minnesota
- 10,614 trees in the County Line Wildfire Salvage and Restoration project in Florida
- 9,433 trees slated to be planted in the 2016 Longleaf Pine Project in Virginia
"American Forests is thrilled to partner again with CubeSmart to help restore forests in need," said Scott Steen, CEO and president of American Forests. "Healthy forests are critical to supporting wildlife and improving air and water quality, but they also increase quality of life for millions of people. We are grateful for CubeSmart's commitment to restoring our forests."
Along with its pledge of planting trees, CubeSmart regularly evaluates conservation opportunities and implements policies and practices to reduce energy consumption, increase efficiency and expand its sustainability efforts, according to the release. It makes annual investments in energy savings and sustainability projects to increase operating efficiencies and reduce the company's environmental footprint. CubeSmart sustainability and energy-conservation initiatives include:
- The opening of a "net-zero energy" storage facility in Austin, Texas, last month
- An increase in its 2016 investment in onsite solar-voltaic systems by nearly 200 percent compared to 2014
- An investment of more than $3 million in energy-conserving lighting upgrades at its stores from 2009 through 2015 (an additional $1.9 million is budgeted for lighting upgrades this year)
- An estimated savings of 3.5 million sheets of paper by implementing a proprietary paperless rental-lease process
- Systematically identifying energy-consumption issues and focusing on reduction efforts by performing an annual energy-usage benchmark of a number of properties in key markets
- Deploying energy-management systems to dynamically manage energy consumption and maximize energy efficiency at many locations
- Dedicating energy-manager monitors and adjusting daily energy usage for dozens of stores that account for nearly a quarter of CubeSmart's annual energy usage
CubeSmart owns or manages 715 self-storage facilities across the United States. Its operating portfolio comprises more than 44.8 million square feet.
Founded in 1875, American Forests restores and protects urban and rural forests. The nonprofit has served as a catalyst for many key milestones in the conservation movement. Not only did it found the U.S. Forest Service as well as the national forest and park systems, it has lead thousands of forest ecosystem-restoration projects and public-education efforts. Working in forests in all 50 U.S. states as well as 45 countries, American Forests planted its 50 millionth tree last year.