Did You Know Your Landscaping Could Save You Energy Costs?

Did you know energy-efficient home landscaping can reduce your household’s energy consumption for heating and cooling by as much as 25 percent? That’s amazing, isn’t it? You may not have thought about this but proper placement of trees, shrubs, vines, grasses, and hedges lets you modify the microclimate around your home to maximize shade during the summer and reduce wind chill during the winter.

Landscaping that helps your home be energy-efficient is one of the best investments you could make, because it can generate enough savings to return your initial investment in less than eight years. That’s pretty good. It is not surprising then that more homeowners than ever are using home energy-conserving landscaping ideas on their property.

So where do you begin with this exciting new landscaping adventure?

Energy Saving LandscapingFirst you need to develop a Home Landscaping Plan for Energy Efficiency
You can probably come across hundreds of strategies for landscaping for energy conservation. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, not all of them are appropriate for your property and climate zone.
First you need to make an assessment of the comfort and energy shortcomings of your current home’s landscape, before you plant anything in your backyard.
Things like your house location and the presence of surrounding structures will influence your property’s microclimate and the energy-efficiency of your home. Your property’s microclimate is the climate immediately surrounding your home. Along with the regional climate, it helps determine which plants and trees will thrive and provide the best energy-saving benefit to your home.
Your home’s location affects your dwelling’s exposure to the sun, wind, and water, consequently shaping your home’s landscaping needs. Nearby buildings, walls, trees, and bodies of water can produce significant climatic effects that will impact your home landscaping strategies.
This analysis of your property’s features will enable you to come up with an energy-efficient landscaping scheme that addresses your needs and goals.

Energy Saving LandscapingLandscaping to Maximize Shade in Summer
If you properly plan your landscaping you can reduce your air-conditioning costs in the summer by providing shade from the hot summer afternoon sun.
Deciduous trees (trees that shed their leaves in winter) are great for doing this as they provide shade in the summer when their leaves are fully out and let low-angle winter sun filter through their bare branches to warm the home in winter. Having landscaping that maximizes shade can reduce the temperature inside your home dramatically, by as much as 8 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Shading your air-conditioner through landscaping increases the unit’s efficiency significantly.
Did you know that shading the ground, driveway and patio with trees, shrubs, and groundcover plants reduces surrounding air temperatures which keeps your house cooler?
Other heat-reducing landscaping ideas include building a trellis for climbing vines to shade a patio and planting a row of shrubs to shade a driveway.

Energy Saving LandscapingLandscape for Winter Wind Protection
Landscaping to block the flow of cold winter winds helps cut down your home’s heating costs during the winter.
Trees, shrubs, bushes, walls, and fences make effective windbreaks for winter-protection. You can achieve adequate wind protection by planting evergreen trees and shrubs along the north and northwest areas of your property. Windbreaks can decrease wind speed for a distance as much as 30 times its height, although maximum wind protection occurs at a distance of two to five times the mature height of windbreaks.
For optimal wind protection, make sure that the foliage density on the windward side of your property is 60 percent.

A Well-designed Landscape Provides Energy Savings Year-round.
Enjoy the warmth of the winter sun by not planting evergreens too close to the south side of your home.
Shrubs, bushes and vines planted close to your house create dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer.

If you have been thinking about how you could cut your home energy costs, you might want to take a second look at your home’s landscaping. Reducing your household energy consumption by a possible 25% can motivate anyone to start looking around their yard.

Continually developing “ideas for outdoor living”

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 30th, 2009 at 5:43 pm and is filed under Ideas. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Did You Know Your Landscaping Could Save You Energy Costs?”

  1. clod Says:

    Very interesting subject. I read with great pleasure.

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  3. New Orleans Landscape Architect Says:

    Great suggestions, but for the winter section, won’t the trees and foliage shed too much to serve as a windbreaker during the winter?

  4. Dave Says:

    In the article you will read that for windbreak the use of evergreens are the trees to use as they don’t shed their leaves. Other trees can help but for windbreaks evergreen trees cedars, spruce and pine and fairly quick growing and do the job best.

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