Ways To Incorporate Trees Into Your Landscape To Save Money On Heating And Cooling

With the high cost of heating and cooling, many homeowners are taking aggressive steps to save money on energy costs. The HVAC system in most homes accounts for the majority of the entire home's energy use, but you can see a big difference in your overall energy costs by making adjustments to your outdoor landscaping.  A well-designed landscape can work for you, rather than against you, when it comes to heating and cooling your home.

Deciduous Trees

As the sun beats down on your home in the summertime, solar heat is absorbed through your roof and windows, increasing energy costs. However, there are commonsense ways to landscape the property around your house to create more shade so you experience less solar heat absorption. Since cool air settles near the ground, the air temperature directly beneath a properly placed shade tree can be up to 25 degrees cooler than the surrounding air temperature.

Planting deciduous trees in appropriate spots around your house can be a very effective landscape shade strategy that benefits you all year-round. In the summer, deciduous trees cast a shadow over your house, blocking the sun. Since these trees shed their leaves in the fall, you can use this to your advantage during heating season because they will not block the sun's passive solar heat during the winter.

These tips will help you determine the most appropriate spots to plant deciduous trees around your home:

  • Trees with tall leaves and branches provide the best rooftop shade during the summer when they are planted on the southern side of your house.
  • Trees with branches that are lower to the ground are most effective if you plant them on the western side of your house. This way, they'll block solar heat gain during the afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Keep in mind that the branches of south-facing trees will block some of the sun during the winter. If you utilize solar heat panels on your roof, the trees may block too much sun to effectively save energy costs during the colder months.
  • Trees should be planted far enough away so their branches and root systems don't damage the roof or foundation of your home once they've matured.

Evergreen Trees

If your home needs protection throughout the entire year, evergreen trees or shrubs can provide ongoing shade year-round. Since evergreens don't shed, a few properly placed trees can also effectively block heavy winds. This windbreak can reduce energy costs by lowering the wind chill around your house in the winter and blocking hot summertime wind during the summer.

Evergreen trees and shrubs planted about a foot from your house provide an insulating pocket of air that saves energy costs during both heating and cooling seasons. To gain the maximum energy saving benefits from your evergreens, consider these suggestions:

  • For the best wind blockage, plant dense evergreens to the north and northwest of your house.
  • The most effective windbreak utilizes evergreen trees and shrubs with low crowns because they block the wind that is closest to the ground.
  • To maintain passive solar heat gain during the winter, try not to plant your evergreens too close to the southern side of your home.
  • Low shrubs planted on the windward side of your property can help prevent snow from blowing against your house.

Smart landscaping increases your property value while saving you money on energy costs. When incorporating deciduous or evergreen trees into your property's landscape, make sure you choose varieties that are adapted to your local climate. Native trees require less maintenance and provide you with years of energy-saving service.

In addition to designing your landscaping to reduce heating and cooling costs, be sure to schedule regular maintenance with a plumbing company like A Bailey Plumbing.