Lumbercycle 2

Reinvesting Fallen Trees Back Into Our Communities

At San Diego Gas & Electric, our employees feel a strong sense of purpose beyond delivering clean, safe and reliable energy services to our 3.7 million customers. As part of our commitment to the communities we serve, we support a variety of initiatives through shareholder charitable contributions, employee giving programs and volunteerism. Our philanthropic priorities include climate action, emergency preparedness and safety, economic prosperity, and K-12 STEM education. Many of our initiatives focus on advancing racial and gender equity in alignment with our company value to “champion people.” We understand that in order for our region to thrive and become more sustainable, it is important for all of us to do our part to ensure no one is left behind.

When you walk around your neighborhood, do you notice how many trees you pass? Trees serve many purposes in our communities. They provide shade, food, oxygen, improve soil and shelter animals, all while making our communities more beautiful. In an arid climate like Southern California, there are efforts underway to increase our tree canopy, recognizing their important role to reduce and adapt to the effects of climate change.

It is important for trees to live as long as possible because mature trees store more carbon. When a tree’s life cycle is complete, it is environmentally prudent to have a plan for utilizing their stored carbon instead of decomposing it back into the atmosphere. Lumbercycle is a nonprofit sawmill dedicated to creating a regenerative circular economy for urban wood. The organization diverts felled trees from landfills, mills and dries them into usable lumber, then provides the urban wood to community organizations and local woodworkers. Additionally, by making sustainable wood products like lumber, the organization is promoting a more sustainable urban forest and educating the public about its economic potential. Lumbercycle ensures that the powerful heat-trapping greenhouse gas, carbon, stays sequestered inside the tree, instead of released back into the environment to accelerate the pace of climate change.

Urban wood made from local trees reduces exotic woods imported from our world’s cherished rainforests and creates jobs for log haulers, sawyers, tree companies and woodworkers. The wood milled by Lumbercycle is often used in community enrichment programs across the region, including benches in parks and raised beds in community gardens. Accessibility and affordability are deciding factors for whether community members can use local, sustainable lumber. By increasing urban wood’s affordability, we can increase accessibility and create opportunities for personal and community development to our most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

With help from generous partners, Lumbercycle has been able to donate thousands of board feet of lumber from local trees to community projects including high school woodshops, church programs, scouting organizations, veterans’ groups, community gardens, public art projects and many more. In summer 2022, the organization will continue its program in partnership with San Diego Gas & Electric which teaches urban forestry to Girl Scouts at Camp Winacka near Julian. The program features fun and inclusive discussions about trees, followed by a sawmill demonstration making lumber for the camp. Lumbercycle’s outreach and contributions to the community are made possible by grants and generous donations. If you would like to support or learn more about their efforts, you can visit their website at

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Esteban Villanueva